From Holden Caulfield to Moses Herzog, our best literature has been narrated by malcontents. To this lineage add Peter Jernigan, who views the world with ferocious intelligence, grim rapture, and a chainsaw wit that he turns, with disastrous consequences, on his wife, his teenaged son, his dangerously vulnerable mistress—and, not least of all, on himself. This novel is a bravura performance: a funny, scary, mesmerizing study of a man walking off the edge with his eyes wide open—wisecracking all the way.
DAVID GATES lives in Missoula, where he teaches at the University of Montana, and in Granville, New York, where he is associated with the Bennington Writing Seminars. A former Guggenheim Fellow, for many years he was a writer and editor at Newsweek, where he specialized in music and books.
"Mr. Gates has created one of recent literature's most memorable anti-heroes, and...established himself as a novelist of the very first order." —The New York Times
"A brilliant novel. Full of dark truths and biting humor, Jernigan will be read for a long time." —Frederick Exley
"[Has a] jumpy, boozy, post-modern ironic belligerence.... This is a profoundly sorrowful book, one that lingers, unbidden, in the heart." —The New York Times Book Review
"In the best tradition of tragic literature, Jernigan is cathartic and stimulating.... High moral art." —The Seattle Times
"A sizzler of a novel." —Joseph Heller
"Brilliantly handled.... At once harrowing and hilarious, an artful chronicling of one man's free-fall into an exhilarating, devouring nihilism." —San Francisco Chronicle