God in Neon (Paperback)
Lucky Bastard Press, 9780996409933, 140pp.
Publication Date: April 15, 2015
The characters in God in Neon are linked not only by the characters dependence on alcohol, but at times also by geographical location. These characters exist on the fringes of normal society. What is normal for them--using a bungee cord to tie an invalid father to a window in order to go drinking, engaging in an extreme competition to settle a bet for a classic Camaro, burning up a bar after being told that to have another drink would certify death, et cetera--would be appalling to most. It is in these appalling moments that the stories find the most traction. They scrape the bottom of the barrel of humanity and transform it, and readers watch as the characters struggle with those transformations and failed attempts. In the end, while the individual characters may not find some ultimate resolution for their vices, readers are left with a sense of completion as they watch the bar they've seen in multiple stories go up in flames. Later in the collection, the characters experience similar downfalls, but elsewhere, showing how similar we all really are when our backs are against the wall and alcohol seems like the only option.
The collection speaks to the Grit aesthetic of writers like Harry Crews and Barry Hannah. Readers of contemporary Southern fiction would find these stories appealing for their characters and the depravity that some sink into just to get their fix. Other readers would take interest in the hope that certain characters attempt to find when all else but the bottle seems lost.