Vada Prickett is a 29-year-old Hose Associate at a car wash in South Carolina, and Darla, the woman he loves, is about to marry his friend, rival, and life-long neighbor, Wyatt Yancey. Vada has "spent his life waiting for the thing to get a proper start." But it will never get that start, for Vada, as this wildly original novel opens, is being crushed to death by Wyatt's latest animal trophy, a stuffed grizzly bear Vada has been helping him to smuggle-against Darla's wishes-into Wyatt's house. It turns out that the cliche is true-at the moment of death, your life does flash before your eyes. Trophy, the account of a man's final, fleeting instant on earth, joins Vada as he attempts to make that flash last as long as possible. As he lies dying, too soon and too absurdly, Vada tries to unravel the mysteries of his life. He first bargains with God, then rages against the dying of the light. Exhausted, Vada proceeds to prolong, in every way available to a man in his dire circumstances, the time he has remaining. Just beneath Griffith's dark humor and witty take on our present-day culture lies a meditation on memory and identity and the power of language over both.
Michael Griffith is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Cincinnati. He is the author of Spikes: A Novel (2001) and Bibliophilia: A Novella and Stories (2003).