Set in the watery ruins of post-Katrina Mississippi, the novel is narrated
by an erudite performance artist named Tiger who tells us
that she once worked in what could only be called a sub-genre
way. Translation: shed come on stage dressed up like Florence
Nightingale or Helen Keller before stripping down and showing her titties
to the denizens of the Bayou Trophy Club for Gentlemen. Tacky as it was,
the routine earned her a thousand bucks a weeknot bad for a young
girl whose previous job was in a 7-11 (and who had also spent a year in
juvenile detention for stealing a car).
Tiger is no ordinary drug-addled, cynical, hard-boiled stripper, though.
Shes read more than a few books and has her own unique way of thinking
about life and death and other existential matters. She also has an active
imagination, as evidenced by her made-up interview with Barbara Walters,
of which here is a brief excerpt:
Walters: What do you do for recreation?
Tiger: I like to party with my friends.
Elsewhere in the book Tiger sounds off about her friends, lovers, ex-husband
and family, especially her grandfather (who committed suicide) and her
mother (who, post-hurricane, sits dazedly in a broken chair on the concrete
slab which is all that is left of her home). Tigers voice is wittily
mordant as she reflects on the natural disaster that wrecked so much of
her world and covered it in water, but she is too much of a fighteran
actual tiger, reallyto accept defeat herself.
Tiger will survive because, as she confides, she knows certain important
dont look a gift-horse
in the mouth dont shit
where you eat dont upset
the apple cart
dont finger your food dont
just sit there
dont get your knickers
in a twist dont let
the doorknob hit you where
the good Lord split you
dont light a cigarette
in a meth lab