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Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre

Vernon God Little

by D.B.C. Pierre

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,248751,690 (3.45)210
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» See also 210 mentions

English (72)  Dutch (1)  Greek (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (75)
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
Rubbish. ( )
  Anaithnid | Nov 4, 2017 |
Amazing and creative language in a setting that reflects many of America's worst facets. ( )
  brakketh | Oct 7, 2017 |
...cleverly characterises the claustrophobia suffered by those for the whom the American Dream is nothing short of a nightmare,

Pierre’s adventure tale of the pursuit of poor little Vern by virtually the entire machine of ‘Merica is a combustive mix of satire and suspense. The pace doesn’t let up. From the moment you meet the eponymous hero until his final homecoming, you feel as out of breath, as uncertain of your surroundings as he is. It’s a novel that very cleverly characterises the claustrophobia suffered by those for the whom the American Dream is nothing short of a nightmare.

Vernon is the product of a dysfunctional single-parent family in Couldbeanytown, Texas. His mother dreams of a limited edition refrigerator while Vernon dreams of simply being accepted. He attends a local high school where something has gone horribly wrong. What exactly took place, you piece together as the story unfolds. Exactly what role Vernon played in it is what everyone else wants to know.

Through the introduction of some of the most comic US-lit characters since Ignatius J. Reilly and Yossarian, we find the authority of law enforcement and the voice of mainstream media lampooned like never before. All the while, Vernon grows up faster than he needs to and is beset on all sides by enemies both real and imagined.

The strength of this novel comes not only from his biting satire but also from the style that Pierre has employed. The US has always been easy to mock, strewn as it is with stereotypes, laughable if not horrific foreign policy and, best of all, ever too sensitive to take it all with a pinch of salt. The satire should therefore come easily to even a modestly talented writer.

What makes Vernon special though is that the writing is constructed as a perfect embodiment of the very culture it sets out to critique. Vernon’s narrative is offensive, cynical, self-absorbed, angry, confused, paranoid and pessimistic. While he’s busy lambasting his mother’s dependence on her rotating door of lovers, he’s lusting after his own dependencies. At the same time he’s scathing of society’s incompetence, he’s unable to organise even the simplest tasks for his own welfare.

The result is a tirade that can be taken two ways at the same time. While it seriously questions the fundamental aspects of USAnian society, Pierre also seems to be asking whether you can in fact actually take the writing seriously. On the one hand Pierre’s novel seems to find absolutely nothing of cultural worth. On the other, the very fact that this culture is so delicious a farce makes it worth so very much to an art form that strives to help us understand the human condition. Fact. ( )
1 vote arukiyomi | Jul 1, 2017 |
I honesty cannot see how "Vernon God Little" won the Man Booker Prize (or the Whitbread Best First Novel Award or the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award for Comic Writing for that matter). It's not that it's poorly written, although I was tempted to stop reading throughout the earlier sections of the book, but it just didn't grab my attention like a good novel should. And considering I was living in South Korea at the time and was starved of English language literature, it's a big statement to claim I was tempted to stop reading.

Yes, "Vernon God Little" improves as it goes on and by the end I did care whether the narrator lived or died but I think it suffered from its huge reputation.

While I'm here, I'll take the opportunity to give a shout-out to Luling, Texas, name-checked in the book. I spent an evening in Luling more than twenty years ago but the place still seems to haunt me; not quite in a "Poltergeist" way, but close. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Oct 25, 2016 |
'Me ves y sufres', 17 July 2012
sally tarbox

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This review is from: Vernon God Little (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this novel; there's no question that Pierre took inspiration from 'Catcher in the Rye' (one of my favorite books), but managed to create an entirely original work. Our teenage narrator is a 21st century kid, full of raging hormones, child of an inadequate mother. In the aftermath of a mass shooting at his school in Texas, carried out by his best friend, Vernon finds himself held accountable...
Holden Caulfield dreamed of paradise in a field of rye; Vernon aspires to a beach hut in Mexico (in the company of the gorgeous Taylor Figueroa). Holden derided the phoney adults around him; Vern is well aware of the corruption in the media, everyone out to make a buck. Both characters retain a touching naivety that keeps the reader rooting for them throughout. Brilliant. ( )
  starbox | Jul 9, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pierre, D.B.C.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Keesmaat, DennisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It's hot as hell in Martirio, but the papers on the porch are icy with the news.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0571215165, Paperback)

The surprise winner of the 2003 Man Booker Prize, DBC Pierre's debut novel, Vernon God Little, makes few apologies in its darkly comedic portrait of Martirio, Texas, a town reeling in the aftermath of a horrific school shooting. Fifteen-year-old Vernon Little narrates the first-person story with a cynical twang and a four-letter barb for each of his diet-obsessed townsfolk. His mother, endlessly awaiting the delivery of a new refrigerator, seems to exist only to twist an emotional knife in his back; her friend, Palmyra, structures her life around the next meal at the Bar-B-Chew Barn; officer Vaine Gurie has Vernon convicted of the crime before she's begun the investigation; reporter Eulalio Ledesma hovers between a comforting father-figure and a sadistic Bond villain; and Jesus, his best friend in the world, is dead--a victim of the killings. As his life explodes before him, Vernon flees his home in pursuit of a tropical fantasy: a cabin on a beach in Mexico he once saw in the movie Against All Odds. But the police--and TV crews--are in hot pursuit.

Vernon God Little is a daring novel and demands a patient reader, not because it is challenging to read--Pierre's prose flows effortlessly, only occasionally slipping from the unmistakable voice of his hero--but because the book skates so precariously between the almost taboo subject of school violence and the literary gamesmanship of postmodern fiction. Yet, as the novel unfolds, Pierre's parodic version of American culture never crosses the line into caricature, even when it climaxes in a death-row reality TV show. And Vernon, whose cynicism and smart-ass "learnings" give way to a poignant curiosity about the meaning of life, becomes a fully human, profoundly sympathetic character. --Patrick O'Kelley

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:17 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When sixteen kids are shot on high school grounds, everyone looks for someone to blame. Meet Vernon Little, under arrest at the sheriff's office, a teenager wearing nothing but yesterday's underwear and his prized logo sneakers. Moments after the shooter, his best buddy, turns the gun on himself, Vernon is pinned as an accomplice. Out for revenge are the townspeople, the cable news networks, and Deputy Vaine Gurie, a woman whose zeal for the Pritikin diet is eclipsed only by her appetite for barbecued ribs from the Bar-B-Chew Barn. So Vernon does what any red-blooded American teenager would do; he takes off for Mexico. Vernon God Little is a provocatively satirical, riotously funny look at violence, materialism, and the American media.… (more)

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