Synopses & Reviews
John Brandons remarkable first novel will blow away a certain readership. . . . Arkansas rants against the machine in a voice combining Raymond Chandlers side-of-the-mouth noir with Quentin Tarantinos gleeful-psychopath wit and Mark Twains episodic romance of the journey.” San Francisco Chronicle
Brandons premier novel is a must for those who love the criminal and the stern yet dark optimism of the existential. His vision of Arkansas is unique, his wit is sharp, and the sympathy he has for his characters is genuine. For all the dark alleys Brandon explores, both physically and psychologically, Arkansass power rests in its redefining and restructuring of the criminals only hope: family.” PopMatters
Add novelist John Brandon to your list of hipster-sanctioned must-reads . . . Brandons writing is so sparse it sometimes feels blasé, but the tension between his hard-boiled prose and his characters appealing naiveté makes the novel work.” The Portland Mercury
"Arkansas" is a biting first novel full of wet T-shirt contests, illicit drugs, and cross-country road trips. There are the days: the dappled grounds, the aimless yardwork, the hours in the booth giving directions to families in SUVs. And then there are the nights: crisscrossing the South with illicit goods, the shifty deals in dingy trailers, the vague orders from a boss they've never met. Before Kyle and Swin can recognize how close to paradise they are in this neglected state park in southern Arkansas, the lazy peace is shattered with a shot. Night blends into day. Dead bodies. Crooked superiors. Suspicious associates. It's on-the-job training, with no time for slow learning, bad judgment, or foul luck.
Originally published by McSweeneys in hardcover and met with wide acclaim, Arkansas is a darkly comic debut novel written by John Brandon about a pair of drug runners, Kyle and Swin, set in the rural southeast. Drawing comparisons to a striking range of storytellers, from Quentin Tarantino and Mark Twain to Flannery OConnor and Cormac McCarthy, John Brandonan MFA graduate of Washington University who worked an array of odd jobs while writing the novel, including at a rubber factory and a windshield warehousedelivers a tightly written, bitterly funny story that chronicles the monochromatic landscape of the American southeast and gives a glimpse into the mindset of his wildly troubled yet seemingly real characters.