David Gates

First Sentence:     I ended up driving all night.

Back of the book:

Peter Jernigan’s life is slipping out of control. His wife’s gone, he’s lost his job and he’s a stranger to his teenage son. Worse, his only relief from all this reality – alcohol – is less effective by the day. And when the medicine doesn’t work, you up the dose. And when that doesn’t work, what then? (Apart from upping the dose again anyway, because who knows?)

Jernigan’s answer is to slowly turn his caustic wit on everyone around him – his wife Judith, his teenage son Danny, his vulnerable new girlfriend Martha and, eventually, himself – until the laughs have turned to mute horror. But while he’s busy burning every bridge back to the people who love him, Jernigan’s perverse charisma keeps us all in thrall to the bitter end.

Shot through with gin and irony, Jernigan is a funny, scary, mesmerising portrait of a man walking off the edge with his eyes wide open – wisecracking all the way.

Quotes from the book:

Against the cobalt-blue sky, the leaves looked morbidly colorful: the hectic yellow, orange and red stages of a wasting disease. You were supposed to think they were beautiful.

‘That’s Jernigan all over: first you swallow a bunch of drugstore anodynes and then you want to feel something and then you bitch and moan because it hurts.’

* * *

Last Sentence:     I stand up and say: Jernigan.