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Vernon God Littleby DBC Pierre
2003 Man Booker Prize Winner
2003 Whitbread Award for Best First Novel
Synopses & Reviews
In the town jail of Martirio, Texas — under the terrifying care of the dynastic Gurie family, and wearing only his New Jack trainers and underpants — fifteen-year-old Vernon Little is in trouble. His friend has just blown away sixteen of his classmates before turning the gun on himself. And Vernon has become the focus of the whole town's need for vengeance, and the media's appetite for sensational content — true or not. When the tricky Mr. Lesdema arrives in town — with a covert mission to promote himself from TV repairman to crack CNN reporter — Vernon thinks he has an ally. In fact, Lesdema is a villain of Machiavellian proportions. Vernon soon realizes that in this modern world innocence is definitely no defense. One distasteful arrangement with old Mr. Deutschman and $300 later, Vernon is headed for the border, for freedom and Mexico, and a much-anticipated date with the nigh-mythical Taylor Figueroa. But Texas isn't finished with Vernon yet.
Vital, riotously funny, and energetic, Vernon God Little puts lust for vengeance, materialism, and trial by media squarely in the dock. Vernon himself emerges as the lovable upholder of love, truth, and homespun wisdom in a world gone mad.
"[E]rratic, sometimes darkly comic....Perry's wild energy offers entertaining satire as well as cringe-provoking scenes, and though he can write with incisive wit, this is a bumpy ride." Publishers Weekly
"[S]tartling and excellent....Like the best satires, it makes you feel faintly guilty for laughing, which intensifies the pleasure of reading. It also keeps you hooked....Vernon himself is a brilliant comic creation..." Carrie O'Grady, The Guardian (UK)
"[T]he narrative voice of 15-year-old Vernon Little overwhelms everything else....Humor and mass murder make for strange bedfellows, and first-timer Pierre fails to find the tone that might harmonize them." Kirkus Reviews
"Vernon God Little shows some promise, but it is not a good book. More important even than that, it's not a plausible book....However well Pierre's work might reflect the 'alarm and fascination' of Corey and his colleagues, what it doesn't reflect with any authority is America itself. It's a synthetic concoction of artificial flavors and colors, about as authentic a representation of American life as cherry soda is of the fresh fruit....Vernon God Little doesn't sound American, it doesn't sound Texan, and it doesn't sound teenage....Vernon God Little isn't really about school shootings in any meaningful way. The massacre is affixed to the book like a sticker vouching for its import, the thing that purportedly transforms it from a minor Salingeresque coming-of-age story into a 'coruscating black comedy reflecting our alarm and fascination with modern America'....Nevertheless, the French are lapping it up and so, now, are the British. Simply including a school shooting in your book or movie, apparently, is enough to mark it as a thoughtful commentary on American society, whether or not you've actually bothered to think about it." Laura Miller, Salon.com
"[C]ompulsively written...sure-footed in its satire....[A] quite scintillating black comedy by one of the most original talents in years....It is a showcase of superb comic writing, every sentence turned with loving care." David Robson, The London Telegraph
"Most things about this...novel are remarkable....[An] endlessly inventive voice that zings with energy....
"Pierre renders adolescence brilliantly, capturing with seeming effortlessness the bright, contradictory hormone rush of teenage life....Holden Caulfield would have liked Vernon Little, especially if he'd had access to a stash of Ritalin." Sam Sifton, The New York Times Book Review
"A frenetic yet unexpectedly moving first novel....Vernon God Little is raucous and brooding, coarse and lyric, corrosive and sentimental." The New Yorker
"Vernon has a gift for wordplay that would keep the shade of James Joyce amused." Boston Globe
"Vernon Little's polymorphous voice is the star of the novel...his simmeringly funny monologue
"The stereotypes are broad....America may have difficulty finding the humor in this novel, but equally troubling is the inauthenticity of the narrative voice." Library Journal
What Our Readers Are Saying