Jernigan - Serpent's Tail Classics (Paperback)
  • Jernigan - Serpent's Tail Classics (Paperback)
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Jernigan - Serpent's Tail Classics (Paperback)

(author), (author of introduction)
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£8.99
Paperback 256 Pages / Published: 06/08/2015
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Peter Jernigan's life is slipping out of control. His wife's gone, he's lost his job and he's a stranger to his teenage son. Worse, his only relief from all this reality - alcohol - is less effective by the day. And when the medicine doesn't work, you up the dose. And when that doesn't work, what then? (Apart from upping the dose again anyway, because who knows?) Jernigan's answer is to slowly turn his caustic wit on everyone around him - his wife Judith, his teenage son Danny, his vulnerable new girlfriend Martha and, eventually, himself - until the laughs have turned to mute horror. But while he's busy burning every bridge back to the people who love him, Jernigan's perverse charisma keeps us all in thrall to the bitter end. Shot through with gin and irony, Jernigan is a funny, scary, mesmerising portrait of a man walking off the edge with his eyes wide open - wisecracking all the way.

Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781781254905
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 292 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 22 mm
Edition: Main


MEDIA REVIEWS
David Gates makes me sick with envy -- Nick Hornby
A sizzler of a novel, a whirlwind. It swept me up in the opening paragraphs ... I found myself wishing I could read fast enough to swallow it whole in a single sitting -- Joseph Heller
A bravura performance, sprawling and energetic, soused and noisy, with a bitter comic edge ... a rambunctious and enthralling portrait of a man who, by looking too closely, has finally lost sight of himself * Guardian *
A relentless, combustible mix of high literary art and low humour, wisecracking profanity and shellac dark glimpses into a man's wilful self-annihilation ... if there is one book that deserves to come in from the cold in the way Revolutionary Road, Alone in Berlin and Stoner have, it's David Gates's Jernigan. -- Stuart Evers
The minute he starts talking, Peter Jernigan, the narrator of David Gates' astonishing first novel, grabs you by the lapels and compels you to listen to the sad-funny-tragic story of his life ... one of recent literature's most memorable anti-heroes -- Michiko Kakutani * The New York Times *
What makes Gates' novel so good is not only its unblinking view of the horror and anomie of the American suburb, but also his hero's strangely seductive voice, which manages to be at once bitter and remorseful, funny and deluded * Financial Times *
The pleasures of David's Gates' superb novel lie in the voice he has created for Jernigan: boozy and belligerent, overdosed on irony, and characterised by its syntactical short circuits, abandoned clauses and half-finished thoughts ... a joy of a novel' * Observer *
Fearless in its exploration of expired American dreams and ruined prospects. A tale of fear and loathing in New Jersey, it strings beads of dark poetry and defiant laughter on the sinewy prose of survival -- Jay McInerney
One of the angriest and most sorrowful novels around -- Ben Marcus * New Yorker *
David Gates has created a memorable man for our times * Chicago Tribune *
Brilliant ... reveals the screaming exhilaration of life in free fall. * Esquire *
Extraordinary ... one of the more memorable pieces of literary heartache to come along in years. The best characters in fiction reveal themselves slowly, taking on a life so real they begin to live beyond their novels. You feel this happening with Jernigan. * Boston Sunday Globe *
Vivid ... honest ... a throat-tearing voice - bitterly ironic, crippled by hyperactive intelligence, at war with itself - that recalls the boozy obsessiveness from Frederick Exley's A Fan's Notes and Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano. * Village Voice Literary Supplement *
Peter Jernigan is a quintessential late 20th-century antihero ... with a wit so darkly sharp it could slice through a stack of Yellow Pages. * Washington Post *
Jernigan - an unflinching wonderful modern fool, like a great many of us - makes us practically howl at his late-century insights, dim and profound, somehow, at the same time. Terrific! -- Barry Hannah
Engrossing ... grimly funny, alarmingly revealing ... by the book's end Jernigan has taken on a mythic quality. * Cleveland Plain Dealer *
[A] considerable talent ... intelligent ... powerful ... subtle and moving. * Los Angeles Times *
[Jernigan] tells his tale so honestly, so self-critically, that the accounting itself becomes a kind of salvation. * Newsweek *
Jernigan the man [is] stewed to the eyeballs in the Zeitgeist. Jernigan the book is great, nasty fun. -- Joy Williams
Thorny, thoughtful, written with venom and verve, Jernigan paints an anguished portrait of an impenitent rebel. * Houston Chronicle *
Exquisite ... rich ... Jernigan is compelling, amusing and disturbing, a lively, naked exploration of a tormented man living a life without contours. * Kansas City Star *

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Paperback

“Funny, sad, clever. ”

I’m not entirely sure what it says about me but I found Peter Jernigan (protagonist, unsurprisingly, of Jernigan) to be most enjoyable company. I’m not sure I liked him, but I’ve certainly spent a fair amount of time... More

Paperback edition
2 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 38

“Blackly comic lost classic.”

I read this novel in one sitting on a day off. Jernigan isn't a particularly likeable character, and you constantly see him making the worst decision - but for me that's kind of the point. Sometimes... More

Paperback edition
3 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 21
Emily at Lancaster King Street

“Salinger Did it Better”

With thanks to Serpent's Tail for the review copy.

It's a tough one: if you hate the main character - I mean *really* hate - is it still possible to like the book?

Perhaps it is, but not in this case.... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 21

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