Scarecrow Gods

Scarecrow Gods

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by Weston Ochse
     
 

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Winner of the Bram Stoker Award!

Scarecrow Gods is the tale of Maxom Phinxs, a black man tortured and disfigured in Vietnam. Maxom, called the Maggot Man by the Tennessee locals, is feared and reviled because of his appearance. Even so, he takes under his wing a troubled young boy named Danny who's fighting incest rumors to repair a shattered family, wondering…  See more details below

Overview

Winner of the Bram Stoker Award!

Scarecrow Gods is the tale of Maxom Phinxs, a black man tortured and disfigured in Vietnam. Maxom, called the Maggot Man by the Tennessee locals, is feared and reviled because of his appearance. Even so, he takes under his wing a troubled young boy named Danny who's fighting incest rumors to repair a shattered family, wondering every day if his sister will return to clear it all up.

In southern Arizona, John the New Baptist has created a new religion promising salvation. Most people believe in his strange ways. They don't understand he is establishing a herd for his personal use. Only Simon, a faithless Alexian Brother, and a homeless man named Billy Bones who speaks in palindromes, anagrams and metaphor realize the evil and engage the Scarecrow Gods-a circle of immense saguaro dressed in Salvation Army clothes who speak wisdom in the wind from pursed coke bottle lips.

Maxom, Simon, Danny and Billy, all fight and converge upon the center of evil as each journeys through the world of imagination, the Land of Inside-Out and across America, striving to defeat demons both personal and real to ultimately discover their deserved salvations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

God speaks through odd prophets in this schizophrenic tale, which won Ochse a 2005 first novel Stoker Award. Hideously disfigured Maxom Phinxs, known as the "Maggot Man" for his disgusting job at a chicken processing plant, learned a trick as a POW in Vietnam: he can astrally project, abandoning his ravaged body to soar and spy. He shares this ability with troubled young Danny, whose family was shattered when his sister ran away from home. The two join brilliant homeless man Billy Bones and a defrocked monk calling himself John the New Baptist to confront insanity and evil on an alternate plane called the "Land of Inside-Out." Stereotype-heavy and prone to strange time shifts, endless dream sequences and awkwardly placed flashbacks, the tale is narratively untidy, but the underlying themes of faith, martyrdom, madness and loss are richly, sometimes achingly portrayed. (July)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781929653683
Publisher:
Delirium Books
Publication date:
06/28/2005
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.16(d)

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Scarecrow Gods 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Now let me just say this is not your normal variety scary book. The gore and blood is almost non-existent, and Ochse avoids the cheap tricks that are so commonly seen. No, what we have here is a smart and original plot. Character-driven, the story aims to capture your heart and mind first and foremost. Challenging your beliefs and your faith, the plot attacks you internally, feeding on your fear and emotions. Too late you realize that it¿s been chewing since you opened the book, and nothing can satiate it. Ochse is a terrifying genius! The true brilliance shown is in the pace of the book. Ever patient, the build-up is gradual, the climaxes reached only when the tension is ready to burst. The events are never rushed and the actions never consuming; everything is played out naturally and in its own time. This is not to say that the speed is slow, far from it. I read this book in just under eight hours, but what kept turning the page was not hurried violence. It was simply to see what happened next, what challenge Ochse would throw at me. Even though the atmosphere switches constantly to two polar opposite settings, the one feeling throughout is home. Both the warmth and hostilities that are found in your house are felt in waves here. Although there is an undercurrent of wrongness that seeps into both, it never fully consumes it. And just to further show you what a clever man Mr. Ochse is, let me tell you about his writing. Ochse¿s style is natural, his direction cryptic. Instead of dishing out pre-digested, chewed-up clues and answers, he allows the reader to use their own imagination and intelligence. What he does reveal, he exposes slowly, piece-by-piece. This form of storytelling is what got me reading in the first place. His characters are just as precisely detailed. Carrying most of the weight, the cast is realistic and memorable. Three-dimensional, you can understand these characters better than most people you know. Rather than try to imitate friends/family, the characters refine our expectations of what we normally see. Our protagonist is not some random person with a hero complex, nor does he have super powers. He¿s just a person, no more no less. It¿s only through his actions and convictions that he rises to a level we all wish could in some form or another.