Mcsweeney's Literary Arts Fund
Having spent most of his life medicated, electroshocked, and institutionalized, Jerome Coe finds himself homeless on the coldest night of the century and so, with nowhere else to go, he accepts a ride out of New England from an old love's ex-girlfriend. It doesn't quite work out, but he makes it to New Orleans, and a new life complete with a bandaged hand, world-champion grilled-cheese sandwiches, and only the occasional psychotic break. Things get better, and then, of course, they get worse. From a writer who's worked as a debt collector, book restorer, toilet scrubber, and door-to-door vacuum-cleaner salesman, Fever Chart is filled with a cast of Crescent City denizens that makes for one of the most vivid ensembles since Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces.