Vernon God Little isn’t a bad read at all, but I’d personally classify it as a borrow-don’t-buy. I was extremely impressed by it, but as someone who reads purely for leisure (okay, and perhaps an occasional intellectual brownie point), I haven’t the faintest desire to ever read it again. It would probably make a fairly good movie, but only if Tarantino directs.
DBC Pierre’s prose is stingingly funny, but the plot is ultimately frustrating for the rational reader, which makes the suspense in the ending fall flat. The entire story is dependent on accepting that the protagonist, who sees the world through glasses so bitingly perceptive that they would best be described as gunmetal-tinted, is more inept at proving his innocence (of a schoolyard mass-murder) than an eight-year-old child would be. At times I was reminded of my exasperation while watching The Blair Witch Project, after which I seem to remember proclaiming “People that fucking stupid really just deserve to die!” a little too loud on the streets of London.
However, if you’re going on holiday, or are sick in bed and need something rollicking(ish) and entertaining(ish) and which pokes merciless fun at fat small-town Americans, you could do much worse than Vernon God Little. Here are two vulgar passages from it to help you decide. If you don’t like them, don’t read the book.
* * *
“Man, remember the Great Thinker we heard about in class last week?” he asks.
“The one that sounded like ‘Manual Cunt’?”
“Yeah, who said nothing really happens unless you see it happen.”
“All I remember is asking Naylor if he ever heard of a Manual Cunt, and him going, ‘I only drive automatics’.”
* * *
“You never heard of the paradigm shift? Example: you see a man with his hand up your granny’s ass. What do you think?”
“Right. Then you learn a deadly bug crawled up there, and the man has in fact put aside his disgust to save Granny. What do you think now?”
“Hero.” You can tell he ain’t met my nana.
“There you go, a paradigm shift. The action doesn’t change – the information you use to judge it does. You were ready to crucify the guy because you didn’t have the facts. Now you want to shake his hand.”
“I don’t think so.”
“I meant figuratively, asshole.”