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author essay

The Speed Queen: an excerpt

author reading

  Amidst the prevalence of drugs and violence in a desensitized contemporary society, Stewart O'Nan has written the ultimate 90's road novel. The Speed Queen is a classic noir set amongst the uniquely American backdrop of fast food joints and Wal-Marts. Ingeniously thought out, each chapter is the response of the narrator to a question posed by "America's greatest storyteller, the king of horror fiction," who has bought the rights to her story. As she awaits her impending execution, she spends her last night recounting the events that brought her to death row. Through this unique storytelling device, O'Nan paints a portrait of America that is both bleak and funny. In addition to an excerpt of The Speed Queen, the author has contributed an essay on the role of violence in his work. Finally, we've got two audio short stories, "Summer of '77," in which a horrific serial killer stalks summer revelers, and "Kid Lazarus," a hilarious tale of a retiree who takes up boxing much to the displeasure of his loathsome wife.

Photo of Stewart O'Nan credit: Marion Ettlinger

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