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The Neon Bible Paperback – 24 Nov 2000

7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press; 1st Evergreen Ed edition (24 Nov. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802132073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802132079
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 13.8 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 134,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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because I start to think too much in the dark about what's back in the house. They must have turned the heat off too. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By mrchris on 28 Feb. 2008
Format: Paperback
Although I'm familiar with his story, John Kennedy Toole's life seems so much sadder to me having read this. It shows that 'Confedaracy of Dunces' was no fluke - if he could write this well at sixteen then it seems that the reading world has been robbed twice over.

This story simply follows the life of a young boy in a rural, narrow-minded, American church town in a very linear way. It details the life and times of a kid called Dave and the hardships and intrigues that his family -mom, pop and the outrageous Aunt May - face living in a town that seems to run low on compassion and high on hypocrisy. At times the unoriginal subject matter did seem somewhat humdrum but then there were flashes of brilliance and fantastic comedy that not only pointed towards the author's only other book but made this book really shine in it's own right. I think I took this story on in the same way an adult would any story written by a person so young, with the thought that it would never get to me or say anything that would resonate too much but I was genuinely shocked and entertained. The genesis from simple story-teller to satirist and novelist in his own right is fantastic to observe. If you enjoyed 'Confederacy of Dunces' in any way then you must read this - it's a hidden gem, a real treat and makes you feel that much closer to the strange, sad story of this tragic author. In a way it gives you some access to John Kennedy Toole's character that we don't get in his main work because this book is so much more poignant and, I believe, personal.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By bobbygw on 3 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
Toole, author of the renowned A Confederacy of Dunces (Penguin Modern Classics), wrote The Neon Bible (his only other novel) when, remarkably, he was still a teenager. A classic of American literature of innocence lost, it can be ranked with novels by Twain, Salinger and S. E. Hinton.

Telling the beautifully moving story of Dave, a poor Mississippian rural boy, as he looks back on his childhood and early teens, he is the centre of the novel, holding it together through his captivating vernacular; the slow, easy language complementing the reader's powerful impression of him and his world.

Toole's two novels are completely different in style, language and humour. In his later novel, we have the gargantuan Ignatius Reilly, a towering, Rabelaisian, Falstaff-like figure; devotee of Boethius, battling against the dim-witted in his quest for truth, beauty - and the endless devouring of hotdogs.

Yet both novels and the characters share important themes and traits: in their heartache and principles, they are essentially the same, valuing truth and beauty above all else; both are outsiders, most often alone, recognising the painful inhumanity in their worlds as they suffer the corruption of innocence; and both convey a pervading, penetrating sadness at the very heart of their lives. A truly wonderful novel.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very interesting book but not as good as the Confederacy of Dunces by the same writer, which I really recommend for the larger than life characters in it. But then the author was very young when he wrote The Neon Bible.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BestBritishBargains on 27 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
Confederacy is Toole's masterwork, but this, his only other known work of fiction, is also of some note and has value as a companion piece. The youthful seeds of themes developed in the later work can be seen here, and it is an enjoyable and undemanding read, although of no great profundity. Having said that, he was only 16, and it is as good as anyone could expect from someone so young.
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