That Demon Life

Lowell Mick White

Winner of the Gival Press Novel Award - 2008.
Finalist Texas Book Award for Fiction - 2010.

Linda, a difficult, sometimes depressed criminal defense attorney, finds that her life mirrors what the Rolling Stones call That Demon Life. Here in over the course of a grueling week, Linda encounters a parade of thugs, slackers, and eccentrics—hookers, lawyers, bartenders, cab drivers, and political fixers of various stripes with echoes of A Confederacy of Dunces. She loses her job, falls back into a relationship with her now-married ex-fiancé, and convinces her best friend to seduce and blackmail the man she holds responsible for her misfortunes. Linda’s absurd and dislocated life reflects the rhythms of the city and culture she lives in, yet when she finally confronts her enemy who she then attempts to rescue, she discovers that the joys of love and revenge are not all they’re alleged to be.

"The slacker blonde has found her muse! In the hilariously disinclined attorney Linda, a no-account Austinite whose idea of legal research is a rerun of Law & Order, White has given us a transgendered update of the madcap A Confederacy of Dunces. Indeed, you could say Dunces is done one better in That Demon Life, because this swift-moving new picaresque of work-avoidance takes us into the realm of sex. Amid the complications that flower so colorfully out of the death of Linda’s pet bird—you’ll scent a fresh and nutty bloom every few pages—we are treated to the kind of lust-besotted escapades that leave a county judge stumbling naked through the urban sprawl, poking up tabloid writers rather than Lone Star rattlesnakes. Amid all the unhinged carrying on, I’ll be darned if our Linda’s take-it-or-leave-it blasé doesn’t prove a moral center, and deliver a riotous epiphany." —John Domini, judge for the Gival Press Novel Award and professor of English and Creative Writing at Grinnell College

“Here is the story of success in spite of oneself, rendered with a sly and witty and wry appreciation for the ordinary horrors of everyday life. That Demon Life is a hoot, a virtuoso tale by a master story teller. Mr. White, where have you been keeping yourself?” —Larry Heinemann, author of Paco’s Story, winner of the National Book Award

“Lowell Mick White takes readers places John Grisham’s novels overlook. With a keen eye for the absurd, White gives a glimpse into the lives of the hapless and dysfunctional attorneys and judges who inhabit the Capitol of Texas.” —Christine Granados, author of Bride and Sinners in El Chuco

"That Demon Life has got Austin in its sway, or at least this novel's motley crew of characters. A horny judge, a defense attorney with an attitude, an entourage of petty criminals, a dating service maven, a self made internet porn star and a boy toy or two—they're all slouching toward Sixth St. and beyond. This is a fast-paced, hold-on-to-your-bar stool satire, a hilarious, stumbling romp through law and disorder, urban ennui and its after-hour antidotes, Texas-sized lust and doom." —Alison Moore, author of The Middle of Elsewhere and Synonym for Love and winner of the Katherine Ann Porter Prize for Fiction

"Lowell White’s first novel, That Demon Life, is hootenanny of jurisprudence, internet sex, false teeth, and box wine—all under the big skies of Texas. White's mischievous prose makes the fabulous realistic and the absurd an afterthought. Through it all, the audacity of the narrative allows us ample opportunity to laugh, even when the joke is on us." —Adrian Matejka, author of The Devil’s Garden

Lowell Mick White

Lowell Mick White is author of the story collection Long Time Ago Good (Slough Press, 2008). His work has been published in over two dozen journals, including Callaloo, Iron Horse Literary Review, and Short Story. In 1998 he was awarded the Dobie-Paisano Fellowship by the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Institute of Letters, an honor that has previously gone to such writers as Sandra Cisneros, Dagoberto Gilb, and Stephen Harrigan. White lived in Austin for 25 years, at various times working as a cab driver, as a shade tree salesman, and as an Internal Revenue Service bureaucrat. He is currently a PhD student at Texas A&M University, where he specializes in creative writing and regional literatures, and teaches creative writing and freshman composition.