From the author of the internationally acclaimed 'Torture the Artist', a fiercely funny novel about red-state politics, family traditions, and a common man who decides to fight back. Somewhere in the middle of America dwells Blue Gene Mapother, a mullet-headed patriot who staunchly supports the American war effort without question. Besides his patriotism, little enlivens him except for pro wrestling, cigarettes, and any instance in which he thinks his masculinity is at stake. And though you wouldn’t know it, Blue Gene hails from one of the wealthiest families in the country. His mother, a fanatical Christian socialite, has a dream in which she sees Blue Gene’s older brother, the handsome but anxious John Hustbourne Mapother, becoming an apocalyptic world savior. Eager to fulfill his mother’s prophecy, John runs for Congress but finds that as a corporate executive, he’s not very popular with his largely working-class constituents. And so, after years of estrangement, the Mapothers reach out to Blue Gene, realizing that they need his common-man touch in order to cast their family name in a more favorable light with voters. With absurd humor and poignant wit, this timely, small-town epic takes us from flea markets to mansions to abandoned Wal-Mart buildings, all the while examining the bizarre relationship between the 'high' and 'low' classes of America.
About the Author: Joey Goebel lives and teaches creative writing in Henderson, Kentucky. He is the author of the novels 'The Anomalies' and 'Torture the Artist', both of which have been published in nine languages.
Goebel's third novel (his first was The Anomalies), a tepid satire of contemporary politics in Middle America, hinges on Blue Gene Mapother, the heir to a vast fortune who prefers hocking his old toys at a flea market. After a mutual four-year estrangement, his family reaches out to Blue Gene, hoping to give his older brother John's congressional bid credibility among working men. Initially reluctant, Blue Gene is swayed by John's conservative beliefs and moves back home to begin campaigning full-time. It isn't until he meets Jackie Stepchild, a substitute teacher and revolutionary rocker, that he begins questioning John's motives. A serendipitous meeting with his former nanny leads Blue Gene to uncover a dark family secret and he quits the campaign. Spurred on by Jackie's leftist outlook as well as his growing attraction to her Blue Gene cashes in on his inheritance and opens up Commonwealth, a communal enterprise providing free services to the town's middle-class citizens. An abundance of homosexual slurs and profanity detracts from Goebel's crisp storytelling, and the uninspired spoof of red states feels stale.