The first novel by the Pulizer Prize-winning author of A Confederacy Of Dunces. David is a young boy growing up in a small Southern town in the 1940s. From his porch, David can see the whole valley, including the neon Bible that lights up the sky, emblem of the God-fearing folk who snub his family because Poppa can't afford the church dues.
Written when John Kennedy Toole was only 16 years old, THE NEON BIBLE depicts the hard life of a teenager named David who lives in Mississippi around the time of the second World War. David's father has trouble finding work and abuses his wife, before being shipped off to Italy to fight in the war. Meanwhile, David's town is divided by a pair of disingenuous religious leaders who compete to steal members from one another's flock of worshippers. Eventually, David's family receives word that his father has been killed, which causes his mother to have a nervous breakdown. David tries to distract himself from his family troubles with a girl named Jo Lynne, and he watches as his Aunt Mae escapes to Nashville to pursue a singing career, but he remains trapped by having to care for his invalid mother. Ironically, the controversial and convoluted story behind the publication of the book actually illustrates the theme of a dysfunctional Southern family better than the text. Following the surprising success of A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES, Toole's family fought bitterly over the rights to his only other manuscript. Toole's mother Thelma refused to allow her greedy relatives to profit from her son's writing, and even tried (unsuccessfully) to use her will to block publication of the book after her death.
- Fiction + Literature Genres, Fiction + Literature Themes
- Literary, Literary Genres + Types of Novels, Religion + Beliefs, Stages of Life, Human Qualities + Behavior, Settings
- May 1, 1990
- May 1, 1990
- John Kennedy Toole