"...the dialogue is fast and lively, and Sandrine’s first-person narrative delivers immediate, searing drama."—Booklist
"[An:] aching debut...[with:]...more "...the dialogue is fast and lively, and Sandrine’s first-person narrative delivers immediate, searing drama."—Booklist
"[An:] aching debut...[with:] echoes of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings..." —Publisher's Weekly
“Reading Dedra Johnson’s Sandrine’s Letter to Tomorrow, I was fully in the presence of the mind, heart, and soul of a richly rendered, fascinating fictional character. I knew I was also in the presence of the brilliant voice and sensibility of a major new American writer. This is an important novel by a true artist.”—Robert Olen Butler
“Dedra Johnson has caught something wonderful in Sandrine's Letter to Tomorrow. She writes brilliantly about childhood, New Orleans, the intricacies of a vexed family life. Sandrine is a remarkable debut novel that will catch your heart.”—Frederick Barthelme
Despite being a straight-A student and voracious reader, nine-year old Sandrine Miller is treated like a servant by her mother, who forces Sandrine to clean house, do chores and take care of her younger half sister, Yolanda. On top of the despair of her life at home, Sandrine must confront up against the harshness of life in mid-1970s New Orleans, where older men prey on young girls and she is ostracized because she is a light-skinned black girl. The only refuge against her bleak world is spending summers with her beloved grandmother, Mamalita. After Mamalita’s death, Sandrine realizes that she must escape from her mother, from New Orleans, from everything she has ever known, if she is to have any kind of future. In the tradition of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Sandrine’s Letter to Tomorrow is a brilliant and uplifting debut from an important new voice in African-American fiction.
A native and current resident of New Orleans, Dedra Johnson received her MFA from the University of Florida, where she was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers. Sandrine’s Letter to Tomorrow was a finalist for the 2006 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Award.(less)
"Small Town Punk is full of raw feeling and taut smart prose. John Sheppard gets that Reagan-era rage and humor just right. This novel is an ode to th...more"Small Town Punk is full of raw feeling and taut smart prose. John Sheppard gets that Reagan-era rage and humor just right. This novel is an ode to those kids at the dead-end jobs who knew that the morning in America was really dusk at best, but had each other, a little weed, and gas."--Sam Lipsyte
"...authentic..with a sense of natural, unforced humor."--Booklist
Trapped in dreary Sarasota, Florida in the early 1980s—during Reagan’s “Morning in America,”—going to high school with junior fascists by day, working at Pizza Hut by night, his family a dysfunctional nightmare, 17-year old Buzz Pepper feels that nothing matters in life beyond drinking, drugs and punk rock.
As the country around him is becoming more conservative and corporate, and adulthood seems like the ultimate corrupt existence, Buzz can only find solace within a close-knit group of fellow disillusioned teens, which includes his devoted younger sister, Sissy. As they drive around in Buzz’s beat-up van, encountering redneck cops, mocking the local “geezers,” and wondering if there is any meaning in what seems to be a meaningless world, Small Town Punk perfectly captures how it is to be young, yet feel that you have no future.
In the tradition of Hairstyles of the Damned and Perks of Being A Wallflower, Small Town Punk is a brutally funny and poignant coming of age story that brilliantly evokes the surging joy, confusion and rage of youth.
JOHN SHEPPARD's short stories have appeared in Bridge Magazine and Exquisite Corpse. He has an MFA from the University of Florida.A veteran of the first gulf war, he currently lives in Chicago. (less)
"Dreaming of Gwen Stefani is a quirky and compelling riff on the nature of romantic obsession, celebrity worship, free will versus determinism and th...more
"Dreaming of Gwen Stefani is a quirky and compelling riff on the nature of romantic obsession, celebrity worship, free will versus determinism and the joys of Papaya 'Queen' hot dogs."--Jay McInerney
Mortimer Taylor Coleridge is a unique man. With a mind of rare mathematical precision, he is obsessed with imposing order upon the chaos of every day life. A once brilliant student of evolutionary biology at Columbia University, he has turned his back on a promising academic career to devote his life to selling hot dogs at Papaya Queen. And Mortimer has used his keen intellect to become the quickest and most efficient of hot dog men, devising a numerical-based system to sell hot dogs which maximizes both time and effort.
One day while watching TV, Mortimer comes upon VH1, and his life is instantly transformed. While watching Behind the Music: No Doubt, he decides that he and Gwen Stefani are soul mates, destined to be together. When Mortimer discovers that her favorite food is a Papaya Queen hot dog, he dedicates his life to preparing for the day, which he knows will come, when Gwen Stefani will walk into the Papaya Queen where he works, order a frankfurter and fall in love with him.
In the comic tradition of writers such as Carl Hiaasen and Lydia Millet, Dreaming of Gwen Stefani takes our culture’s obsession with celebrity to its logical—or illogical—conclusion.
EVAN MANDERY is the author of two works of nonfiction. Dreaming of Gwen Stefani is his first novel. He lives in New York City.(less)