The Hereafter Gang
By Neal Barrett Jr.
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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."
PRAISE FOR THE HEREAFTER GANG:
"… 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