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Other titles in the Vintage Contemporaries series:
Goodnight, Nebraskaby Tom Mcneal
Synopses & Reviews
At the age of 17, Randall Hunsacker shoots his mother's boyfriend, steals a car and comes close to killing himself. His second chance lies in a small Nebraska farm town, where the landmarks include McKibben's Mobil Station, Frmka's Superette, and a sign that says The Wages of Sin is Hell. This is Goodnight, a place so ingrown and provincial that Randall calls it "Sludgeville"-until he starts thinking of it as home.
In this pitch-perfect novel, Tom McNeal explores the currents of hope, passion, and cruelty beneath the surface of the American heartland. In Randall, McNeal creates an outcast whose redemption lies in Goodnight, a strange, small, but ultimately embracing community where Randall will inspire fear and adulation, win the love of a beautiful girl and nearly throw it all away.
"In this tough-minded but soft-hearted first novel, Randall Hunsacker escapes an increasingly dysfunctional family and troubled past by accepting his high school football coach's offer to leave California and resettle in a tiny Nebraska town, playing for the high school team there. Upon arriving, Randall becomes a quiet and mysterious outsider who manages to marry the town's beauty. But the couple do not have an easy time of it, and in telling their story McNeal tells the story of a town and its inhabitants, illuminating the warts and the small pleasures." Reviewed by Andrew Witmer, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
"Few novels written today make the reader want to leap inside and join the action. Goodnight, McNeal's first novel, is just one of those gems. His story about love and hatred, loss and redemption in small-town America truly is a phenomenal piece of prose....[McNeal's] storytelling is magnificent, deftly changing time, place, and narrator to create a spellbinding plot. He brings to life a great cast of characters....In all, a wonderful book and, hopefully, a harbinger of more good works to come from McNeal. " Ted Leventhal, Booklist
"A meticulous rendition of the gritty reality of smalltown life, McNeal is aware that many more of us will accept the badness we know than will venture out in search of a possibly painful unknown — and he renders such decisions in language whose very plainness feels nusical." The New York Times
"Tom McNeal's first novel, Goodnight, Nebraska, delivers us deep into that part of the heartland where just-plain-folks go quietly stir-crazy, even as they're cheerily waving 'Howdy' from their pickup trucks....it remains haunting in its descriptive details. Resignation has seeped into the pores of all his characters, and it is this quality that he illuminates most effectively." Albert Mobilio, New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Tom McNeal lives in Fallbrook, CA.
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