Congratulations to Carol Wong, winner of last week's Friday Freebie, the three-fer prize package of The City of Devi by Manil Suri, Leela's Book by Alice Albinia, and Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now--As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It by Craig Taylor.
Tin God by Terese Svoboda. Originally published in 2006, it's been recently reissued in trade paperback by the University of Nebraska's Bison Books imprint in its Flyover Fiction series, which also published Svoboda's novel Bohemian Girl. I could think of no better way to convince you to enter this contest (and, if you don't win, to ultimately buy the book) than to reprint this excerpt from Emily St. John Mandel's terrific review of Tin God at The Millions which appeared earlier this week:
In Tin God there is a conquistador, and he’s fallen off his horse in a field of tall grass. He comes to and hears whispering all around him; a tribe of grass-dwelling people have come across him in the midst of their hunt. They’re reasonably sure he’s a god — the way he lies there in full armor like a flipped-over beetle, glinting improbably in the sun; the way his eyes are the color of the sky, unsettling to a people who’ve never seen blue eyes before — but it’s impossible to be sure, so they send him a virgin to watch how he uses her and to gather proof.Or maybe I should take a page from Svoboda's book and tell you, "Hey, this is God. G-O-D. The one with all the big letters. I'm giving you an Eleventh Commandment: Get this book. That's B-O-O-K. Not my Book (though you should already have that one, too), but THIS BOOK. The one with all the pretty letters."
Five hundred years later, a sweet but dim-witted gogo dancer named Pork loses a bag of drugs in the same field. His friend Jim threw it out of the car, which as he points out probably saved them from certain legal entanglements given that a cop was after them, but the problem is a tornado touched down in the field in between Pork and Jim throwing the bag out of the car and Pork and Jim coming back to look for it, and now the bag could be anywhere. The field is torn up and in disarray. Pork is in a certain amount of trouble.
God watches over both narratives. God is, in fact, the first-person narrator of the book, whose opening lines are “Hi, this is God — G-O-D, God with all the big letters. I’m out here in the middle of a field.” God is everywhere, especially in the field; God knows everything; God is somewhat competitive and likes to win; God sometimes takes the form of a Nebraska farm woman who enjoys donuts and drives a pickup, because why not. (“I drive by on my route that follows Pork’s, lifting My two fingers off the wheel in traditional car greeting.”)
Tin God is confidently-written, often beautiful, sometimes profane, and strange in the best possible way. It takes some time for the two narratives to come together, but the entire picture does eventually click into place and there’s a feeling, reading this book, of encountering something that hasn’t been done before. It seems to me that Terese Svoboda is a true original.
If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of Tin God, all you have to do is email your name and mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org
Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line. One entry per person, please. Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on April 11—at which time I'll draw the winning name. I'll announce the lucky reader on April 12. If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week Quivering Pen newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email. Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).
Want to double your odds of winning? Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter. Once you've done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.