Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Terese Svoboda's "Tin God"

Terese Svoboda is the author of several books of prose and poetry, including Trailer Girl and Other Stories, Cannibal, and Treason.

About her 2006 novel, Tin God, from the publisher:
“This is God,” the novel begins, helpfully spelling G-O-D for the reader, and we are spinning on our way into the heart of a Midwest that spans spirits and centuries and forever redefines the middle of nowhere.

Whispers plague a desperate conquistador lost in tall prairie grass. Four hundred years later, a male go-go dancer flings a bag of dope into the same field. God, in the person of a perm-giving, sheetcake-baking Nebraska farm woman, casts a jaundiced yet merciful eye over the unfolding chaos. Fire and a pair of judiciously applied pantyhose bring the two stories together. A contemplation of divinity and drugs on the ground, Tin God is a funny yet poignant story of the plains that transcends its interstate spine and exposes us to a whole new level of Svoboda’s fiery prose.
Svoboda put Tin God to the "Page 99 Test" and reported the following:
On Tin God’s 99th page, the lost conquistador is staring at what’s left of his horse and its accoutrement, the horse that had stumbled on a peavine and flung him off so hard that he was knocked unconscious, and the horse, wild with the full-sized cross it was carrying suddenly teetering all around him, stumbled again and broke its leg and zigzagged off until it finally died. The conquistador finds it while running from all the whispering he hears in the tall grass, and tries to get some clue from its bit and shield as to where he is, forgetting the Native American woman he’s just had, shoved into his path by the whisperers, the local Indians who think he’s a god and want him to impregnate her. He gives up after peeing a cross over his dead horse, but it could be an x-marks-the-spot instead.

The book alternates between chapters on the conquistador’s struggles and those on two guys who lose a bag of dope in the same field the conquistador’s lost in. It’s the funniest of my four novels. The book designer became so excited about how the two stories came together that he had the last six pages printed in black with white text.
Read an excerpt from Tin God and learn more about Terese Svoboda and her writing.

--Marshal Zeringue