'Here Goes Nothing' is a treat for 'word nerds'

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So how's the weather up there?

Does it rain or snow, or is there constant sunshine? Are there animals where you are? Do you have houses or hobbies up there? Come to think of it, are you even up or do you go to a separate but parallel plane when you die? In the new novel "Here Goes Nothing" by Steve Toltz, those answers and more may be TMI.

Here Goes Nothing author CREDIT David Morrison.jpg
Steve Toltz
Contributed / David Morrison

The first thing Angus Mooney knew when he woke up was that he was naked.

Naked, in the middle of nowhere, and there was a fight to catch a rickshaw out of ... where? Where was he, and where did he need to be? One of the rickshaw drivers finally told him: he was dead.

Oh, right.


Angus remembered then that he and his wife, Gracie, had been fooled into taking care of a man named Owen who'd lied to them before moving into their house. When Angus learned about the lies, Owen admitted that he was in love with Gracie and he killed Angus right then and there, leaving his body in a rubbish bin.

And so, Angus mourned, wherever he was, which seemed to be some sort of hedonistic holding place where people still needed to work. That was important because there was a plague on Earth that'd started with dogs and spread to humans, which were arriving in the dead place in tremendous numbers. They – the recently dead, that is – had to have somewhere to be before they went wherever they were going to go later, or something like that. Nobody seemed to know for sure.

But there was some good news: Gracie had been pregnant when Owen killed Angus, and Angus missed his wife and his daughter but he finally learned that there was a way to let them see him. His ghost. Whatever, but you bet he did everything he could to pay for that.

Then one day, he looked up from his drink at the dead place bar, and there was Owen...

You might already have the impression that "Here Goes Nothing" is kinda weird. And you'd be right.

It's weird, but it's also irresistible. It's hilarious sometimes and full of pathos at others, and there's just enough chaos in the plot to make you want to know what's next. Author Steve Toltz's characters are all villains, from the scheming Owen to the bordering-on-insane Gracie to Angus, who's dead at the outset of the book.

The plot itself is one thing. The prose is quite another.

Toltz writes sentences that'll make you spit out your coffee, followed by a turn of phrase that makes you want to bookmark the page so you don't forget it. Readers who are word nerds, take notice: the writing itself is... wow..


This probably isn't a book for everyone; there's profanity here and that's the least of it. Still, if you're up for a funny novel that's a little on the wild side, say "Here Goes Nothing." Yeah, it's weird but you'll weather it just fine.

Book notes

"Here Goes Nothing" by Steve Toltz is available at Barnes & Noble at Apache Mall and through online booksellers.

Also Read
Terry Alford's "In the Houses of Their Dead: The Lincolns, the Booths, and the Spirits," looks at the superstitions, mysticism that effected these families and the people of that time.
April White's historical "The Divorce Colony" tells tales of marriage gone awry in the Wild West days of South Dakota.

Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was 3 years old, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on the prairie in Wisconsin with one man, two dogs and 16,000 books. Look for her at or bookwormsez on Twitter.

Bookworm — Terri Schlichenmeyer column sig

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