Plot/Idea: The story follows Mic the bartender's life in the Midwest and all of the wacky, tacky, weird, sad people he's come in contact with. Returning home for a funeral, he recalls his adventures with longtime friends and reveals that the funeral is a sham. As the chaos ensues, Mic realizes that he misses his messy hometown and all of the characters in it.
Prose: The writing here is very conversational, at times hyper-realistic. Paragraphs are short and snappy moving the narrative along at a nice clip. The asides and footnotes are nicely experimental, but at moments come across as forced.
Originality: Fox brings freshness to a story about returning home. By digging into the truths of a region, the story is enhanced, along with the humor that comes from plans gone awry.
Character Development/Execution: The characters here are all very "real" and the narration doesn't just show them without "telling" more of their stories. They are fleshed out through their interactions with one another and via their sturdy dialogue.
Date Submitted: May 04, 2022
“Feels like the first bite of Joan Vanderhyden’s hot dish in the church basement.”
“...Mic Fox sculpts a tensile, living ecosystem, a nebula of collective resilience, profoundly nonsensical ingenuity, and the aporetic relationship between cultural survivalism, nostalgic reverie, and the persistence of the Platonic ideal of homeplace—the Derridean “at home.” Therein he lays bare a rich tapestry of straight-up cinematic diegesis and ethnographic fiction truer-than-life because it's totally made up. As trite as that sounds, it slaps...with heart.”
“Midwestern Pulp is a triumph—a reflection, celebration, and indictment of the midwestern ethos. Fox’s wry humor follows in the footsteps of John Kennedy Toole’s Confederacy of Dunces and Don DeLillo’s White Noise in holding a mirror, however darkly, to banal cultural touchstones, teasing out the “beautiful strangeness” of existence. He takes on the almost Sisyphean task of peering through the normal in search of the sublime. It’s a neon-tinged novel calling out from the cultural wilderness of northern Ohio, forcing you to reckon with your own biases and wonder if it was you who missed the point and if you’ve been thinking about “home” incorrectly all along.”