Days of Throbbing Gristle by Kevin Cole

It’s 1987 and Samuel Henry Hay is traveling to America.

Sam’s a troubled teen hell-bent on escaping a life of poverty in his native Sheffield. He arrives in Texas on a mission: Manipulate the Turners, his host parents, into giving Sam a free ride into university.

So far, so good. Yet for all his scheming, Sam has a dual talent for disaster, and over the course of his senior year in high school, finds himself embroiled in one disaster after another.

In tight writing that toys with the reader as much as the characters toy with each other, momentum builds as clever clogs Sam--his plans falling apart, his stoicism heating up, his will power eroding at the hands of more powerful (and perverted) people--feels cracks appearing in the shield of his venomous attitude. Will the angel beat the devil in time for graduation? Or will Sam Hay stay 17 forever?

This is no short fiction first novel. It’s a drowning into a world apart, where adults are soulless and your friends alive. Where what you learn in school is re-educated by rock stars. Where every day is a roller coaster ride of dreams shocked into reality as kids transform, painfully, into adults.

But it’s also a world of fun, adventure, of wit; of Yuppies, Mexicans, rednecks, headbangers, skinheads, preps, lesbians, Baptists, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Satanists; of drugs, sex, art, and mental illness in general--all to the beat of a unique rock and roll that defined the kids on the fringe of a generation.

For those who like to laugh in dark places, and literary fiction that’s easy to read, DOTG is an epic coming of age tale about a time and place that truly was as bad as you’ve heard.

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