Victims by Travis Jeppesen
(Little House on the Bowery)

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Synopsis

"Victims may by the most exciting first novel I’ve read in a decade or more. This is a brilliant, haunting, and, strangest of all, very funny novel."—Dennis Cooper, -author of Frisk

Victims is a novel about the final days of a religious cult called The Overcomers. Like the infamous Heaven’s Gate cult, whose mass suicide gained world media attention in the 1990s, they are a small group of lost souls guided by the teachings of a charismatic leader, Martin Jones. The Overcomers go about their lives preparing for the cosmic event that will signal the end of their time on earth. Their struggles to reconcile their faith in Jones’s teachings with the emotional ups and downs of their relationships, jobs and interactions with the natural world form the subject of this exquisitely written and highly original novel.

Based on extensive research into the rhetoric of religious cults, Victims is a novel of ideas. Twenty-three-year-old author Travis Jeppesen uses an episodic narrative, an elegantly direct style and a quirky, sympathetic group of characters to ponder a question raised by Jones’s teachings: If friendship and love are just systems to instill -comfort in our lives, are all human interactions acts of manipulation?

Victims is set in a rural America of the imagination informed by classic American values—and cleansed of the mundane distractions that characterize American culture. Travis Jeppesen has written a novel with a philosophical bravura rarely seen in the work of contemporary American writers.

Travis Jeppesen was born in Ft. Lauderdale in 1979. His fiction and cultural criticism have appeared in Book Forum, 3am Magazine, The Stranger and other publications, and he is a contributing editor to Pavement Magazine. Victims is his first novel. Jeppesen currently resides in an undisclosed Eastern European country.

 

About Travis Jeppesen

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Travis Jeppesen (born September 4, 1979 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida) is an American novelist, poet, and art critic. He grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and moved to New York City at the age of 17. He received his B.A. from Eugene Lang College, New School for Social Research (now The New School), where he studied literature and philosophy. Among his professors at the New School were the philosopher Paul Edwards and writers Lynda Schor and Sekou Sundiata. He later studied literary translation at the University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle and art history at the Open University. Bruce Benderson became his mentor. In 2001, Jeppesen moved to Europe. He currently divides his time between Berlin and Prague, where he edits the literary journal BLATT. Jeppesen's first novel, VICTIMS, was selected by Dennis Cooper to debut his "Little House on the Bowery" series for Akashic Books in 2003. POEMS I WROTE WHILE WATCHING TV, a collaboration with painter Jeremiah Palecek, was published by BLATT Books in 2006. The next year, Twisted Spoon Press published Jeppesen's novel, WOLF AT THE DOOR. He is also the author of DISORIENTATIONS: ART ON THE MARGINS OF THE CONTEMPORARY and a second poetry collection, DICKLUNG & OTHERS.
 
Published May 1, 2003 by Akashic Books. 200 pages
Genres: Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality. Fiction

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Mixed in with Tanya’s story is that of Herbert, who appears to be her teenaged son, born while she was at the cult and later cut loose upon the world as a grab-bag of self-destructive, deluded impulses.

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Publishers Weekly

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Herbert, the most frequently recurring figure, tests the patience even of his fellow cult members, indulging all sorts of unpleasant urges (near the start of the book, he slaughters a goat and eats its raw entrails) and eventually striking off on his own and meeting up with two loner freaks, Howa...

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Entertainment Weekly

Published under the aegis of acclaimed author Dennis Cooper (Try), Victims is an infuriating exercise in plot-light avant-garde lit that somehow manages to occasionally move you with its broken, tragicomic characters.

Jun 20 2003 | Read Full Review of Victims (Little House on the ...

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