"The Neon Bible"by John Kennedy TooleI am stunned by the outright talent that leaves me speechless in this novel about the despair of being unwanted. By page 7 I knew I was in the hands of a genius. Generally, it's a story about an observant and sensitive boy who grows into man in a small town in 1940s Louisiana. While its themes are obvious (like the truly good-hearted people being deemed to be the untouchables while the sanctimonious but callous are celebrated), this book packs quite an emotional punch. I dare anyone who reads this to not ache for the boy who has no friends except his mother and aunt who themselves have no friends and no anything else. And Tool's skill in expressing a fullness of ragged and shaded emotions with absolute clarity is exemplary and a trademark that I hope to see when I get to his next book. SPOILER: For ex when the girl he's first romantically close to rejects his advancement of their relationship. "She didn't know that she was the only thing that I ever wanted to have that I thought I'd get." In that single sentence we have the longing, the deprivation and hopelessness, the excitement that something good may actually happen and the forgiveness and acceptance of the loss of the goodness. HE"S FAB!! I highly recommend this book to all those who have a deep interest in the craft of writing. No doubt that he made sure to visit Flannery O'Connor's house before he died. No doubt at all.
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