The Ballad of the Two Tom Mores (2010)

The Ballad of the Two Tom Mores

OUT OF PRINT, limited quantities left

Bronx River Press, 2010

$15.95 paperback

Order a signed copy

“Fast-paced and funny, ripe with literary references, wry snappy humor and surprising turns of phrase, Corey Mesler’s The Ballad of The Two Tom Mores pulls the reader inexorably along.  In the fictional town of Queneau, Arkansas, where people are named Ham, West Acres and Violin, and teenage vixens roam the streets; there exists a salaciously sexy labyrinth of characters that even Faulkner would have been proud to create.   Mesler’s humorous ballad ends with a surprising twist.  You will emerge slightly tweaked- and better for it.”

                        —Suzanne Kingsbury, author of The Summer Fletcher Greel Loved Me

“Corey Mesler’s writing is scary, funny, smart, and deeply twisted. There’s nobody else like him.” — Tom Piazza, author of City of Refuge, and Why New Orleans Matters


“A turgid bratwurst of a story slathered in bawdy humor…? A confederacy of Arkansas dunces..?Ah hell, this strange, hilarious novel needs a new vocabulary to describe it, half yarn, half romp, half acid trip, it’s a yawp combined with a Tarzan yell…? Ah double hell. Just read this book”

Tom Franklin, author of Hell-at-the-Breech


“The Ballad of the Two Tom Mores is a riot from start to finish. Witty, ribald, sometimes profound and sometimes ridiculous, it will frequently make you laugh out loud and sometimes lead you to scratch your head in contemplation. It is an unvarnished, unapologetic glimpse of small-town Southern life, as raw and sexually charged as something out of Erskine Caldwell. At the same time, though, it is a story that is always told with a grin and a wink by a narrator who

is chuckling from beginning to end. With patience and confidence, Corey Mesler manages to pull off a lovely double feat, writing a novel that is both a steamy Southern sex-and-violence page-turner and a gentle mockery of the genre.”

–          —Greg Downs, author of Flannery O’Connor Award Winner Spit Baths

“A wondrously southern sex romp teeming with greatly memorable characters, insights and comedy, with all of this wrapped in an entertaining tale of egos, lust, and the hilarity of a rumor-filled small town.

Ham Acres, who is both the mayor and sheriff, is a delightful character to follow. I could read about Ham all damn day.

The romping affairs and sexploits that pace the book are highly amusing and fun to read; I don’t think I’ve ever encountered that much on-getting without the need of a towel. What I mean to say is: Bravo.

Mesler invigorates The Ballad of the Two Tom Mores with a good peppering of wit, lines that can vault from raunch to soulful introspection quite quickly and expertly. These moments, never lacking, allude to far more than the simple balance of a character, they give the characters a sense of mental reality that is a pleasure to read. A wondrous little book from an excellent author. I’d highly recommend it.”

            —Ray Succre, author of Amphisbaena


“A new face always shakes up small town America. “The Ballad of the Two Tom Mores” tells the story of Tom More and another man called Tom More who walks into his life. When the men of Queneau, Tom’s town, start dropping dead, Tom’s story gets weirder and brings him much to find out and wonder. “The Ballad of the Two Tom Mores” is a choice and very highly recommended read for general fiction readers seeking something with a country tint.”

            —Midwest Book Review

“Queneau, Arkansas [is] the fictional setting of Corey Mesler’s hilarious new novel, where the inhabitants are engaged in a non-stop romp of Rabelaisian proportions…This is not the South of Faulkner and Welty, but of Donald Harington and George Singleton—a pagan place, where people pursue their passions, which are mostly sexual and illicit, unencumbered by Christian conscience. For all the resemblances to the work of these humorists, however, this is a novel unique in its vision…[H]owever outrageous the events may be…Mesler’s tongue is always firmly in his cheek, and because his prose is often pompously satirical, the effect is ironic rather than pornographic. In short, you have to accept the book on its own terms, as a tall tale, a ribald romp that certainly intends to make you laugh…In its linguistic sophistication, if not in its tawdry subject matter, the novel is unquestionably literary, and it poses a question that is too often shunned by somber, earnest intellectuals: is it possible that the purpose of life is simply to have fun?”

            —Garry Craig Powell, in Arkansas Review

   Cover photograph by William Eggleston.



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