Narwhal Slotterfield, a chaos-loving basketball referee (aka, a "zebra") loves bending the rules for the Underdog. Or, as he puts it, he "keeps an eye out for the little guy while simultaneously taking advantage of him." He is in love with Veronica, a delightful woman he met by chance, and on the way home from a road trip, they stop at a diner in the run-down town of Holliday on the eastern Colorado plains. Narwhal is inspired to ask Veronica to marry him. But the universe, it seems, has other plans--before he can propose, time stops completely, for everyone and everything except for him. Birds are suspended in mid-air, the setting sun refuses to budge, and Narwhal's beloved is frozen in the midst of taking a bite of a French fry. Faced with uncomfortable truths about himself, Veronica, and even the nature of being human, Narwhal must choose to either focus myopically on himself or, like an unlikely superhero referee, to right the wrongs of the world. The concluding volume in Gregory Hill's zany Strattford County trilogy, Zebra Skin Shirt is a wild book of time-warped stream of consciousness and space-shifting solipsism, at once a man's search for himself and a triumphant struggle for love.
Gregory Hill grew up on the eastern edge of the American west, on a wheat farm near a tiny Colorado town called Joes. His relationship with that anarchic, windswept region in the heart of America continues to this day; and his novels are saturated in the area's wildlife, language, and gleeful insanity. Relying extensively on desperate characters in barren landscapes, his work is a relentlessly adventurous, unapologeticaly literate antidote to the myth of the wholesome, God-fearing heartland.