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The Hereafter Gang [Kindle Edition]

Neal Barrett Jr.

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Book Description

On a hot summer Texas afternoon, Cindy Nance introduces young Doug Hoover to the two great secrets of life. Doug likes the first secret a lot. The second, that guys grow up and go to work, doesn't appeal to him at all. A series of meaningless marriages and do-nothing jobs prove Cindy was right. Turned off by the present, Doug tries to recapture the joys of his past Captain Marvel and cinnamon squares, Dr. Pepper and window-peeking fun.

Nothing goes right until Doug meets Sue Jean, the culmination of a lifetime enchantment with mean-eyed Southern girls, his all-time carhop queen. Reality takes a hard right and never slows down. Doug, Sue Jean, and readers who can hang on tight are swept through an indescribable romp that gives new meaning to life, death, and roadside romance.

"There are enough bizarre characters here to fill several institutions: Crime czars,proctologists, Western outlaws, dog-fighting aviators and trout-fishing Huns. The Hereafter Gang is a literary accomplishment of rare insight and pure pleasure. Barrett's sense of humor is unexcelled. His ability to stir fantasy and reality into a delightful souffle redefines the term "magic realism."


"… The Hereafter Gang is almost as hilarious as Larry McMurtry's Texasville, and less earthbound; nearly as haunted as Thomas Pynchon's Vineland, and less suffocating. Like both those books, it attempts to hold on to America as the century blows us away; like neither of them, it bites the bullet, in language of tensile brilliance…
.... The Hereafter Gang is a posthumous fantasy. Like similar work by a wide variety of writers, from Vladimir Nabokov to Flann O'Brien, from John Crowley to Gene Wolfe, it tells of a hero who, after the death of the body, must sift through the materials of the life he has left in order to make sense of his naked soul ... It is one of the great American novels." -THE WASHINGTON POST

"...A remarkable piece of work ... that keeps the glamour of the novel screaming ahead at a high quantum level all the way through. The Hereafter Gang is the charm of the author's voice. Barrett knows how to write economically and evocatively. ..His characters are earthy, bawdy, sensual and dimensional. In other words, they live..." -LOCUS

"...Barrett has an ear for the bedlam din of urban Texas, and a story-telling voice which deposes matters of great subtlety with great shouts, and an exuberance which glows in the dark, and he's hilarious." -John Clute. LOOKAT THE EVIDENCE

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 544 KB
  • Print Length: 348 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Crossroad Press; Crossroad Press Digital Edition edition (16 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00868IKDC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #575,755 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally back in print! 3 Jan. 2000
By D. Read - Published on
The Washington Post review, quoted above, says it better than I can hope to. This is a really great book. As the review says, "It is one of the great American novels. Try to find it." Unfortunately, you've always had to dig to find this book. As I write this, it's been out of print for eight or nine years. If you were not already familiar with the sf/fantasy/horror/fantastic/genre scene of specialty publishers, you'd have had a hard time knowing this book was ever published. Neal Barrett is just too off the wall for mainstream publishers to understand or categorize for marketing purposes.
Unfortunately, not much has changed for The Hereafter Gang. Mojo Press, like Ziesing in 1991, has done a great job presenting this book, and I thank them for finally bringing it back into print. Luckily, though, in the year 2000 we now have the internet and, and souls like yourself have a slightly better chance of stumbling across this great book.
The Hereafter Gang is definitely different--from most other books, and from the rest of Barrett's awesome body of work. I guess you could call it "magical realism." It has elements of the fantastic, but it's not a genre or "category" book. It will appeal to those with an appreciation for fantastic fiction, but the sheer brilliance of the writing will also hook those with a more traditional literary bent. As you can surmise from the above Washington Post review, Barrett really goes out on a narrative limb here, but he pulls it off impressively. Buy this before it goes out of print again.
You should also try the rest of Barrett's work, though you might need to comb the used book stores for the stuff that's out of print. His "Aldair" series is a great mix of Mark Twain and Robert E. Howard--intellectual heroic fantasy. The more recent "Blues" series of books are like no other mystery/crime fiction I've ever read (except for maybe Joe Lansdale). "Through Darkest America" and "Dawn's Uncertain Light" will thrill you as well.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun-filled journey through the Hereafter... 24 Nov. 2013
By Gaston DeWayne Sanders - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Hearafter Gang, by Neal Barrett, Jr., was quite a unique experience for me in my reading choices. I usually pick a story with a more contemporary style of writing and characters, but I was intrigued by this book. I am glad that I bought it. This was a fun read with some hilarious, uncontemporary characters that kept me grinning an entertained. I highly recommend this book to any reader looking for a "different" and thoroughly enjoyable trip to the hereafter.

Gaston Sanders, Author
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where everthing costs a nickel 17 Dec. 2013
By Frank R. Errington - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
4.5 of 5 Stars. Review copy

Originally published in 1991, Barrett's novel, The Hereafter Gang remains fresh. A bold tour de force, the work is much like an Almond Joy or Mounds candy bar. It's indescribably delicious.

Kudos to David Wilson at Crossroad Press Publishing for getting works like this back to the public via ebooks. Although, I've not been able to sort out who is responsible for the cover of this version, special props to them for capturing the spirit of the book.

The Hereafter Gang is the story of Douglas Hoover and his journey to the other side. Only he doesn't quite realize that's what is happening. His marriage to Erlene is about done and he's had it with his job and he just takes off with his cat, Mousebreath (what a great name for a cat).

There is a stream of consciousness feel to Barrett's storytelling. Having grown up in the Nazarene Church, I found his character Doug's take on the denomination rather intriguing. "He has other word problems linked with religion. He wonders about the Nazarene Church. It seems unlikely they are in any way connected to the Nazis. Still, these are the only two words he knows that begin with these letters." All those years I spent as a Nazarene and that thought never once crossed my mind.

It strikes me that The Hereafter Gang is somewhat like a twisted, bizzarro-world version of one of Garrison Keiller's Tales From Lake Wobegone, filled with gem after gem like this, "Doug had to choose between a Nehi Orange and a Grapette. An agonizing decision. He seldom slept Friday nights before a game. He loved Grapette, but the Nehi Orange was much bigger. Grapette came in tiny little bottles you could finish in two gulps. He knew what he wanted which was two Grapettes. He had more sense than that. His dad would blow a fuse whether the Hoover Wolverines won or not. Jesus Christ, you want two? Why there's kids in Europe'd likely give their left nut for just one. I don't even think they make it you want to know. What do you think of that Greedy Gus? So Doug didn't ask. He got Nehi Orange and hated his father for a week."

If you've read this blog before, you probably know my preference for reading material leans toward horror, but a good read is a good read and The Hereafter Gang is good and much much more. John Clute called it one of the great American novels.

The Hereafter Gang is available from Crossroad Press and

Strongly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book 18 Nov. 2013
By Bill Crider - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
The Hereafter Gang is a wonderful book. It's a road novel, a journey both real and unreal, a trip into the past and the future, and one of the best books you'll read this year. Neal Barrett, Jr., can write rings around most anybody, and this is his finest hour.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A quirky, unconventional, and deeply moving delight! 18 Nov. 2013
By C. Williamson - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
This is an American classic, one of the wildest, craziest, most fun, and at the same time, most moving novels I've ever read. It's one of those books that deserves a much wider audience, the kind that you'll loan or recommend to a friend after you finish reading it. Neal Barrett's voice is distinctive in American literature -- you need to hear it.
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