The Neon Bible

Novel by John Kennedy Toole
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Blurb

The Neon Bible is John Kennedy Toole's first novel, written at the age of 16. Its main appeal is as an early look at the writer who would later write A Confederacy of Dunces. Toole, describing the novel during correspondence with an editor, wrote "In 1954, when I was 16, I wrote a book called The Neon Bible, a grim, adolescent, sociological attack upon the hatreds caused by the various Calvinist religions in the South—and the fundamentalist mentality is one of the roots of what was happening in Alabama, etc. The book, of course, was bad, but I sent it off a couple of times anyway." It failed to attract interest from publishers and was not released until after Toole's death, after Confederacy's great success. Like A Confederacy of Dunces, the novel had a long and difficult road to publication. The Neon Bible was written in 1954, but after initial attempts at securing publisher proved fruitless, the novel was put aside and Toole eventually began work on A Confederacy of Dunces. Toole committed suicide in 1969, leaving the unpublished manuscripts of A Confederacy of Dunces and The Neon Bible in the possession of Thelma Toole, his mother.

First Published

1989

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