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The Neon Bible

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

John Kennedy Toole--who won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for his best-selling comic masterpiece A Confederacy of Dunces --wrote The Neon Bible for a literary contest at the age of sixteen. The... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

A Black Eye for Obsessed Bible Thumpers

Small town life in the South during the 1930's and 1940's leaps off the pages of John Kennedy Toole's The Neon Bible. With the Great Depression, the family suffers a financial and social fall from grace when Poppa loses his job. They are forced to move to the fringes of town where rents are cheap; they no longer go to church because they no longer have the money to tithe. Aunt Mae, who had been "on the stage," is the closest thing the church-going town's people can find to a jezebel; never mind that Jesus Christ took Mary Magdalene into his fold. When the preacher comes to take Mother, who is emotionally demented, to a place not mentioned by name but for her own good, David, the protagonist, can no longer stomach the imposed benevolence of the preacher and his oppressive, decreed moral standards that are really his lust for power, conformity to his way of thinking and doing, and censorship - that is, things NOT to his way of thinking and doing. The Neon Bible. It's John Kennedy Toole's gospel truth.

An amazing tribute

The Neon Bible tells of one boy's struggle to grow up in small-town America during the war years. It paints a picture of a small, claustrophobic world oppressed by narrow religious bigotry that eventually leads the story-teller to find the courage to make decisions that would change his life.A tender, nostalgic, powerful novel written simply but effectively, The Neon Bible evokes emotions that are communicated in clean, direct prose. John Kennedy Toole wrote this book when he was only sixteen. He followed it years later by A Confederacy of Dunces, which was to win him a posthumous Pulitzer Prize. Though I don't believe The Neon Bible can match his brilliant second book, it is still an amazing achievement for a sixteen year old, and clearly demonstrates the true loss suffered by the literary world upon Toole's premature death in 1969.Most writers, even those who have been writing for years with a modicum of success, would dearly like to be able to pen a novel as powerfully effective as The Neon Bible. It many ways, it makes me think of John Grisham's attempt to break out of the mould when he wrote `A Painted House'. The difference is that Toole touches numerous raw nerves that Grisham does not. (In fairness, Toole could probably never have handled courtroom drama like Grisham!).If, like me, you enjoy reading books that cover a broad spectrum of topics, The Neon Bible should most definitely be on your book shelf.

Wonderful work from a Master

I just finished reading The Neon Bible for the second time. Having read A Confederacy of Dunces years ago (and several times) I didn't know quite what to expect. Further, since I knew this was written at age 16 and withheld from print for years, I expected something a bit unpolished and simple. (To be honest I felt this might be another fine example of 20th Century money grubbing by hangers on.) This book is surely neither unpolished or simple. The story unfolds in a fashion that makes it hard to beleive that such a young author could have had so much inate skill. The charaters are real and well detailed. The story pulls you along but allows you to enjoy your trip. I cannot think of another book that fits in this class. The southern flavor compares well with Welty, Edgerton, O'Connor and Sams. Well worth the investment of reading it twice.

The Neon Bible Mentions in Our Blog

The Neon Bible in The Short, Strange Story of How A Confederacy of Dunces Was Published
The Short, Strange Story of How A Confederacy of Dunces Was Published
Published by William Shelton • September 13, 2022
I must confess that my new literary champion is Ignatius J. Reilly, of A Confederacy of Dunces. I had not read the book until recently, but my path with Ignatius crossed two decades ago while in law school. As wonderful as the novel is itself, the story of its tortured path to publication is equally fascinating.
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