Don’t Mess With Tex: Gresham’s Sunflower Ain’t Playin’

Sometimes, as a reader, you hunger for more substance and reward than the typical John Grisham novel offers. That’s when writers like Tex Gresham become wonderful discoveries.

The author of Heck, Texas is back with a new title. Gresham’s hefty Sunflower is an ambitious and challenging brick of a book, a novel I found reminiscent of Levin’s Bubblegum, Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport and even Wallace’s Infinite Jest.

In many ways—unconventional storytelling, interwoven plots, conspiratorial alternative realities and complexity—Sunflower is an experimental work of fiction that requires the reader invest in the experience. There’s much to unpack, and the novel’s own creative structure—the use of deleted scenes and alternate endings, for example—means you’ll have to apply some energy in the process. Were I still in college, I can only imagine the late-night conversations and intense debates the book surely would have spawned. If you’re up to the task, Sunflower awaits.

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