Follow Here To Purchase Vacuum County

Author: Aya Katz

Publisher: Inverted A Press

ISBN:  9781618790033

I remember as a young child being appalled by something that was blatantly unfair and being told by an adult at the time that “life is unfair” and  I remember thinking that the resignation in his voice was heartbreaking.  Vacuum County is a bizarre mythical metaphor for the unfairness of life and reminds this reader of such classics as Alice in Wonderland, Gulliver’s Travels and the grimmest of fairy tales, not to mention the stories in both the new and old testaments. 

Several characters embody either a virtue or a sin and are thereby metaphors for what we aspire to encourage or discourage in human nature. Several characters talk about their own responses to being victimized including a battered woman who thinks she should have stayed and taken the abuse as that would have been preferable to the lonliness she now lives with. Several characters engage in discussions of slavery and choices and force the reader to realize that every day of our own lives we make choices that enslave us to difficult situations.

The back cover description includes this statement: “A familiar saga about taxation, lechery and covetousness of Biblical proportions” and indeed biblical themes provide a constant underlying current as does the inevitable corruption of career politics. The protagonist reads about or is lectured on the history of the prominent family she lives with going all the way back to Hannibal, so we glimpse the continuing and universal saga of persecution, domination and enslavement that has characterized human civilization from its earliest history to the present day.

The tale is told through various sets of eyes and voices: The entries in the protagonist’s journal are interspersed with her probation officer’s reports, letters to and from various characters as well as the dialogues Verity has with other characters.  Some of these voices are enlightening, some confusing but that is the nature of any society and this small Texan town is indeed a world apart from the more urban environments

Verity had experienced before a flat tire got her stuck in the middle of an alien place. Her inability to figure out how to use the jack in the trunk to extricate herself from her predicament lands her in court on trumped up charges of drunk driving  and thence to a year’s probation without permission to leave Vacuum County and the need to work as a waitress to pay her fees before she is taken in by the strangely arrogant Nabal Cabeza de Vaca (whose failure to help her with the flat tire in the first place led to this predicament).  Thus does she become witness to the tangled political and family associations that involve corruption, adultery, and murder.  In an odd way, she does feel love for Nabal, himself enslaved by his family history and painful childhood, and ultimately he does reciprocate in his own strange way but this is not a love story, this is a story of age old conflicts among men who battle openly or surreptitiously for land, power and glory and the women who help, hinder, love or betray them.

Read this book when you have plenty of time to devote to the reading (425 pages) and to the pondering it inspires, because this is a book that will force you to think long and hard about the nature of human history.

Follow Here To Purchase Vacuum County