Tristan Egolf

Compared favorably to such writers as Harry Crews and Thomas Pynchon, by age 30 Spanish-born Tristan Egolf was a writer/political activist/musician (of the punk band Doomed to Obscurity) to keep an eye on. Good press, along with the publication of social satires Lord of the Barnyard and Skirt and the Fiddle, only increased the anticipation of Kornwolf. Unfortunately, shortly after finishing his third and final novel, Egolf consigned his legacy to comparisons to John Kennedy Toole when he picked up a gun and ended his life last year at the age of 33. Kornwolf is a melancholy indication of Egolf’s evolving skills as a satirical fantasist. Set in the Pennsytucky Dutch region of Pennsylvania, the novel involves an Amish community bedeviled by a werewolf in their midst. The Redcoats (i.e., non-Amish) further their fear and frustration by crashing the party in search of the Blue Ball Devil in all their Reality TV oafishness. While Egolf occasionally indulges in long stretches of top-heavy verbal gymnastics, and has an annoying tendency to give characters joke-ish names (as in Sheriff Buster Highman), for the most part Kornwolf cruises along capably with a feral, dark-humored askew view of clashing cultures.