cover image The Great American Suction

The Great American Suction

David Nutt. Tyrant, $16 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-0-9992186-3-1

Nutt’s exhilarating and exhausting debut follows Shaker, a grifter and failed musician still reeling from the treachery of his ex-wife, who left him and became a rock star. Somewhere in Ohio, he operates a riding mower like a renegade cowboy for a lawn service run by black-marketeering militiamen brothers, and cavorts with his mischievous, murderous cousin, Darb, competing with him as they construct works of art from garbage. Unknown persons are systematically destroying Shaker’s life to avenge some havoc he caused but has no memory of, and after they bulldoze part of the duplex he’s been living in, he’s scooped up and relocated to a ghostly McMansion by the strawberry-blond wife of a stroke victim who impersonates Shaker’s celebrity wife at birthday parties and bar mitzvahs. Way beyond weary of his rebellion against whatever it is he is rebelling against—heartbreak perhaps—Shaker represents Nutt’s vision of the aftermath of the vaporized American dream. (The novel might be called dystopian if it ever looked up from Shaker’s navel.) With its slash-and-burn attitude toward standard syntax and constant stream of brilliant sentences, this is a singular, energetic work. (Feb.)