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Lord of the Barnyard: Killing the Fatted…

Lord of the Barnyard: Killing the Fatted Calf and Arming the Aware in the… (1998)

by Tristan Egolf

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3581346,290 (4.11)9
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» See also 9 mentions

English (9)  French (4)  All languages (13)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
There's a good deal of history here. Back when I wore plaid and carried Nietzsche books everywhere there was a scene here. It was in the Highlands in Louisville. There were hordes of pseuds, but there was a core. There was a group of serious people involved with art, music, literature and activism. Most moved away - the Northwest, NYC, abroad etc. A few died. Recently a number have passed, mostly from cancer. Mostly my age. There was a coffeehouse that hosted readings and concerts. There was going to be a lecture series on Foucault. My best friend Joel and I went. The guy delivering the spiel was our age. He had a firm handle on his Foucault. There were a number of points open to debate. This I did. I am not entirely proud of said behavior. I wasn't heckling. I wasn't drunk (Stephen Malkmus, please forgive me) but I did interupt, politely. A great deal was discussed.

A few years later Harold, who owned Twice-Told Books in Louisville, asked me if I had heard of Lord of the Barnyard. I hadn't. Harold explained that Egolf had lived in the area for a few years doing research on river towns in Southern Indiana. Harold noted that he also spoke about Derrida and Foucault locally. Oh shit. Well apparently Mr. Egolf was busking in Paris, his manuscript had been rejected by every publisher in the US and UK. He wound up involved with a publisher's daughter from one of the French heavies.

Mr Egalf distilled life in Southern Indiana and displayed such with aplomb in his first novel. I loved it. I remember reading it while walking to work, something reckless I have since outgrown. Because of Mr. Egolf's abrupt conclusion in life, I haven't found the nerve to read his other work, which I have collected. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
This is a shattering book. Despair is increasing throughout the plot, without hope, without a ray of light — a story of Les Miserables, which presents American reality from its darkest angle. Writing is a burst of literary talent, with remarkable ability to illustrate even if the descriptions are sometimes tricky. I think this is a literary gem that is a pity to miss, also if there are parts that are too dated in the book. ( )
  JantTommason | Jan 7, 2019 |
Great book! An author that died way too young ( )
  rdwhitenack | Aug 2, 2014 |
Echoes of Twain and Dickens. I can't decide how much I like it, but I'm warming to it more and more, even after having finished it. I kind of want to read it again, except there are so many words in it! ( )
  jeremyfarnumlane | Apr 3, 2013 |
This book was outstanding :) ( )
  pippapeaches | Sep 9, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0802136729, Paperback)

Tristan Egolf's first novel is an unsparing view of life in a town where inbred Appalachia and Middle America overlap and intermingle. John Kaltenbrunner, an only child, is born on the heels of his father's death. At an unusually early age, the boy shows a flair for farming and a desire to be left alone, two things that make people pick on him in increasingly vicious ways. John's life plan is to drop out of school when he hits 16 and mind his own business. But he loses everything, alienates everyone, and through a series of increasingly outrageous mishaps winds up serving three years work-release felony time on a river barge. When he comes home to Baker, no one recognizes him:
John had expected, maybe even hoped for, a little something more to herald his arrival--some burning crosses or lynch mobs on the lawn, a coven of Methodists to picket his re-entry, a banner-wielding committee from the school board, anything at all. But to his disbelief, he found the streets quiet and empty.
The streets don't stay that way for long as the tale truly turns on the garbage strike organized by John and his gang of fellow misfits. As a result, Baker comes apart at the seams and all the citizenry reveal their true natures. In his singular debut, Tristan Egolf demonstrates an unschooled flair for storytelling, which earned him accolades--and even a comparison to Céline--when the novel was published in France. True, his characters are cutouts with few surprises, including dialogue (there isn't any). But there is plenty of room in these pages to admire a wild and imaginative look at a slice of life cut from the underbelly of Middle America. --Schuyler Engle

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:58 -0400)

A satirical comedy on a Midwest farmer turned labor activist. After John Kaltenbrunner is forced off his land by heartless city slickers, he becomes a garbage collector and gets his revenge leading his fellow workers in a strike against the city.

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