Synopses & Reviews
Ten years ago, Tom Drury's groundbreaking debut, The End of Vandalism,
was serialized in The New Yorker,
was compared to the work of Sherwood Anderson and William Faulkner by USA Today,
and was named a Best Book of the Year
in multiple publications. Now, appearing simultaneously with his first new novel in six years, Drury's debut is back in print.
Welcome to Grouse County a fictional Midwest that is at once familiar and amusingly eccentric where a thief vacuums the church before stealing the chalice, a lonely woman paints her toenails in a drafty farmhouse, and a sleepless man watches his restless bride scatter their bills beneath the stars. At the heart of The End of Vandalism is an unforgettable love triangle set off by a crime: Sheriff Dan Norman arrests Tiny Darling for vandalizing an antivandalism dance and then marries the culprit's ex-wife Louise. So Tiny loses Louise, Louise loses her sense of self, and the three find themselves on an epic journey.
At turns hilarious and heart-breaking, The End of Vandalism is a radiant novel about the beauty and ache of modern life.
At the heart of Grouse County, in the American midwest, is an unforgettable triangle: Dan Norman, the county sheriff whose empathy exceeds his love for law enforcement; Tiny Darling, a part-time thief who smashes up a "dance against vandalism"; and Louise Darling, the woman forced to choose between them.
A thief vacuums the church before stealing the chalice....A lonely woman paints her toenails in a drafty farmhouse....A sleepless man watches his restless bride scatter their bills beneath the stars....Welcome to Grouse County....
"Tom Drury's loving, wryly intelligent take on Grouse County is at once sophisticated and compassionate. Drury's prose is quietly heartbreaking, laugh-out-loud funny, and always, absolutely convincing. The End of Vandalism marks the beginning of a distinguished American career."
--Jayne Anne Phillips
"Remarkable...Every so often a debut novel appears that simply stuns you with the elegance and beauty of its writing....A+"
"So amiably dense with anecdote and observation, the reader is bounced along by its energy....Grouse County is unabashedly American, a setting both nostalgic and wittily contemporary....In a sense, the main character is the county itself, with its eccentricities, rituals, quarrels and comforts."
--The Boston Sunday Globe
"Brilliant, wonderfully funny...It's hard to think of any novel--let alone a first novel--in which you can hear the people so well. This is indeed deadpan humor, and Tom Drury is its master."
"Rich and readable...[Drury] possesses his made-up world with the same authority Sherwood Anderson brought to Winesburg, Ohio, and Faulkner to Yoknapatawpha County....The many characters who walk their separate paths end up weaving each other inside a mysterious pattern, in which they themselves are also caught."
Chosen by New York magazine and Publishers Weekly as
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 1994