Hey Hey Lonesome

Hey Hey Lonesome

by Adam Gnade

A 66-page prequel novella (i.e. short novel) to Adam Gnade's next full-length novel (out winter 2012), Hey Hey Lonesome's dense, rowdy, Faulkner-inspired, life-packed narrative is a story of one night in America, all characters on a collision course, en route to the same party; a story of teenage car thieves seeking pizza and big answers; lost loves floating past windshields like hungry ghosts; humid late-night parking lots of drive-thru diners. Recommended for fans of Dazed and Confused, the Last Picture Show, High and Outside zine, and American Graffiti.


Razorcake 5/2/2012

Like Adam Gnade’s other novellas (not quite a novel but longer than a short story) this one isn’t the size of a regular book. So at sixty-three pages, it’s a quick read. Gnade continues with stories of his recurring characters in their late teens (and a few other older folks) that are centered on life in and around San Diego. The stories detail one day in the life of these individuals, with the primary focus a decision of whether making it to a party that night. There are the typical teenage shenanigans: alcohol, drugs, love, friendships, and stealing vehicles, as well as one of the older characters’ decision to go to a strip club. Even though these stories deal with frequent characters in Gnade’s storytelling universe, one can still enjoy this novella without having read his other works. I found the story lines to be interesting and engaging. One character is never focused on over another. They all got their allotted time in the picture and the reader can discover their personalities, even though this was such a short work. I’ve read other material by Gnade and felt this was some of his better stuff (although I do prefer his novel Hymn California the most). This would certainly serve as a fine introduction for those who wanted to get to know his work. (Punch Drunk Press, 1075 Reed Ave., San Diego, CA 92109)

Roctober 3/21/2012

I recently heard that all the characters in John Hughes films were supposed to live in the same neighborhood. The Home Alone house was next to Ferris Buehler’s house was across the street from the Griswolds, and across the wrong side of the tracks lives Andie and Duckie. I mention that because it seems like in all of Gnade’s books the SoCal youth that negotiate the world are friends and associates across titles. These two novellas (the latter the first Tumblr-core piece of literature) forward Gnade’s poetical prose style, and may someday make a great movie. With McCauley Culkin pumping his fist!

ALARM Press 3/21/2012

Hey Hey Lonesome and The Heat and the Hot Earth were published in 2011 and share a lot in terms of structure and characterization. Both follow a group of teens (and one older character) in Southern California as they navigate relationships and try to find their place in an amorphous social order. Lonesome follows the paths of several characters as they move toward a house party; they move between astonishingly crude and aloof dialogue and highly emotional introspection. Its characters, for the most part, balance outer cool and inner turmoil. Hot Earth is more dynamic and simpler in structure; punctuated by a longing letter and a sneering Tumblr post from two characters, it reflects the callousness and romanticism of the modern teen.

The two novellas are connected through recurring characters and themes, and Gnade notes that he ultimately wants to link these stories with his longer novel, Hymn California, and another novella. Gnade says, “The whole universe of my characters is mapped out in a little three-inch-thick notebook. It's like a geometric cube of paper. I'm just following that map until it's done.” The connectedness of the stories gives the novellas a feeling not unlike those big ensemble teen comedies of the ’80s and ’90s; characters move in and out of each other’s orbits, brushing against each other as they go.

Reglar Wiglar 3/21/2012

This novella, by author and musician Adam Gnade, is intended to introduce readers to the characters that will appear in Adam’s forthcoming novel. It’s a prequel, if you will, that follows the characters around San Diego in the hours leading up to a party where all of their paths will cross. It is at this point that the novel (finished but as yet unpublished) will begin. Hey Hey Lonesome is a part of a series of fiction and music that loosely ties together various characters through songs and stories. The work is intended to convey a picture of contemporary American life the way American Graffiti portrayed life in the early 60s or more recently Dazed and Confused in the mid 70s. Similarly, the characters in Hey Hey Lonesome are young, shiftless, in or out of love, bored, under the influence, or all of the above. Adam’s prose style even reads like a script at times. The viewpoints of the characters are first person and we hear their inner monologues, but the scenes and action are described like stage directions, sometimes parenthetically. It is unclear at this point how the characters’ lives will intersect and how they will interact with each other, but the scene has been set for the full story to begin.