LeRoy (Sarah, 2000) is something of a boy wonder—or horror, as the case may be. Born in 1980, he has already established a cult following through his debut novel and his articles in Spin and the New York Press, describing life in the seamier reaches of the adolescent runaway demimonde. His world is one of terrifying, preternatural maturity—a world of teenaged prostitutes and petty thieves who leave unendurable families and spend their young lives trying (and failing) to create better ones from the damaged goods they pick up on the streets. There is a strong southern flavor here that is not merely a question of setting: The characters, like the boy of “Foolishness is Bound in the Heart of a Child,” know their Bible pretty well (although they are often beaten for not knowing it well enough), and it becomes a kind of internal rhetoric that simultaneously condemns and fails to explain the outrages they live on a daily basis. The title story sets the tone: a deadpan description of life as a truckstop whore, narrated by a boy too young to understand (although he can sense) just how horribly he’s being violated.
Strong, fierce, hard, and frankly astonishing.