Before the curtain rises on DBC Pierre‘s coal-black comedy Vernon God Little (Canongate), fifteen-year-old Vernon Little is just another potty-mouthed high school loser trapped in the fictional Texas town of Martirio. After his much-abused friend Jesus shoots sixteen classmates and then himself, Vernon is branded a probable psychokiller (or at least a very strange boy) by the cops, the press, and his loony mother’s kaffeeklatsch. Our antihero is drolly hilarious—he’s the bastard child of Holden Caulfield and Ignatius Reilly—and astoundingly unlucky; he lands in a Texas courtroom in a trial worthy of Kafka. Shortlisted for the U.K.’s prestigious Booker prize, Pierre’s raucous farce skewers the media for their shameless exploitation of tragedy and small-town folk for their small-mindedness; it’s a profane plea for sanity in our crazed times.