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In the town jail of Martirio – the barbecue sauce capital of Central Texas – sits fifteen-year-old Vernon Little, dressed only in New Jack trainers and underpants. He is in trouble. His friend Jesus has just blown away sixteen of his classmates before turning the gun on himself. And Vernon, as his only buddy, has become the focus of the town’s need for vengeance. The news of the tragedy has resulted in the quirky backwater being flooded with wannabe CNN hacks all-too-keen to claim their fifteen minutes and lay the blame for the killings at Vernon’s feet. In particular Eulalio Ledesma, who begins manipulating matters so that Vernon becomes the centre for the bizarre and vengeful impulses of the townspeople of Martirio. But Vernon is sure he’ll be ok. “Why do movies end happy? Because they imitate life. You know it, I know it.” Peopled by a cast of grotesques, freaks, coldblooded chattering housewives (who are all mysteriously, recently widowed), and one very special adolescent with an unfortunate talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Vernon God Little is riotously funny and puts lust for vengeance, materialism, and trial by media squarely in the dock. It also heralds the arrival of one of the most exciting and acclaimed voices in contemporary fiction, who with this debut novel illustrates that in modern times innocence and basic humanity may not be enough.
- Canongate Books, June 2011
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