Synopses & Reviews
In this beautifully imaginative collection, young people attempt to negotiate the often surreal terrain of childhood and adolescence where family, friends, clergy, and teachers often pose a threat instead of providing safe harbor. At the heart of the collection is the relationship between the meek narrator, his best friend alpha-male Clip, and the near-feral Rogerand#8212;but there are also agoraphobic mothers, gorgeous babysitters from New Zealand, paranoid stoned veterans, and deeply sad older sisters.
Ennis has crafted modern-day captivity narratives, set not at some remote fort, but in the neighborhoods of Philadelphia. Using cinematic imagery and deft characterization, Ennis explores how we often feel confined and yet find ourselves in places we least expect.
"With Citrus County John Brandon joins the ranks of writers like Denis Johnson, Joy Williams, Mary Robison and Tom Drury, writers whose wild flights feel more likely than a heap of what we've come to expect from literature, by calmly reminding us that the world is far more startling than most fiction is. He subverts the expectations of an adolescent novel by staying true to the wild incongruities of adolescence, and subverts the expectations of a crime novel by giving us people who are more than criminals and victims. The result is a great story in great prose, a story that keeps you turning pages even as you want to slow to savor them, full of characters who are real because they are so unlikely." New York Times Book Review
"[Brandon] focuses not on the charms of manatees and meandering rivers but on decaying strip malls, abandoned subdivisions and the claustrophobic side of small-town life. He gives us a vividly realistic picture of a place teeming with swamps, sinkholes and insects, "creatures with stingers and pincers and scorn in their hearts." Colette Bancroft, St. Petersburg Times
"If you care at all about books, and what they can do, then this dirty realism is for you... There are very few writers who are as adept at stripping a sentence down to its very essence; nor are there many whose sentences." John Hood, Miami Sun-Post
"[A] chilling and dispiriting new novel... this book is impossible to put down."
Jim Ross, Ocala Star-Banner
"[Citrus County is] not an easy book. One doesn't want to imagine that cold-blooded quasi-sociopaths are on the local eighth grade track team. But Brandon's unflinching look at the devastated inner life of his characters is so unerring that it's hard to look away. Exactly as they planned, by unleashing their most macabre impulses these characters become more vibrant, impossible to ignore." Janet Potter, Bookslut
"Brandon's dry wit, dark imagination, and surprisingly big heart combine to reveal a Florida that, despite (or because of) being more Ted Bundy than Disney World, is absolutely worth visiting." Publisher's Weekly
There shouldnt be a Citrus County. Teenage romance should be difficult, but not this difficult. Boys like Toby should cause trouble but not this much. The moon should glow gently over children safe in their beds. Uncles in their rockers should be kind. Teachers should guide and inspire. Manatees should laze and palm trees sway and snakes keep to their shady spots under the azalea thickets. The air shouldnt smell like a swamp. The stars should twinkle. Shelby should be her own hero, the first hero of Citrus County. She should rescue her sister from underground, rescue Toby from his life. Her destiny should be a heros destiny.
For fans of Kevin Brockmeier or Justin Taylor, a poignant and inventive collection of coming-of-age stories by Tin House and Best New American Voices contributor Sean Ennis.
About the Author
John Brandon was raised on the Gulf Coast of Florida. During the writing of this book he worked at a Frito-Lay warehouse and a Sysco warehouse. During the revising he was the John & Renee Grisham Fellow in Creative Writing at University of Mississippi. His favorite recreational activity is watching college football. His first book was Arkansas, a novel.
Table of Contents
1.and#160;Going After Lovelyand#8195;1
2.and#160;This Is Suicideand#8195;19
3.and#160;Saint Kevin of Fox Chaseand#8195;35
5.and#160;This Is Pennypackand#8195;76
7.and#160;The Kidnapped and the Volunteersand#8195;107
8.and#160;This Is Amblerand#8195;123
9.and#160;This Is Recessionand#8195;152
11.and#160;This Is Tomorrowand#8195;180