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God's Fool (Vintage Contemporaries)by Mark Slouka
Synopses & Reviews
In God's Fool Mark Slouka, the acclaimed author of Lost Lake and Other Stories, presents us with an unparalleled novel about Chang and Eng, the original Siamese twins. In a masterstroke of creative storytelling, we experience their lives through Chang's eyes.
Despite the incomparable predicament of their physical condition, Chang is wrapped in ordinary grace and suffering, searching for tranquility as he travels from Siam's marketplace to Parisian salons, to London's underworld and P.T. Barnum's side show, all the while improbably connected to a man who becomes his sworn enemy. In a last attempt at a normal life, Chang and Eng retire from the sideshow and move to the American South where they marry two sisters and Chang finds short-lived peace and redemption in his love for his son Christopher. This peace, however, is overtaken as events in their adopted home country force them into a final terrifying battle with fate.
"If you can read [this] novel without being astonished and touched, then you'd better check to see if your heart is made of stone...simply brilliant. A book of the year." The Dallas Morning News
"Slouka writes with the bare-bones ferocity of Jerzy Kosinski and the visual intensity of John Updike." Boston Herald
"Exceptionally beautiful....[A] story where the power of language and of reflection on the nature of connection is more essential, and compelling, than any retelling of historical events." The Washington Post Book World
"Slouka, a gifted stylist, eschews much of the freak-show energy that thrust Chang and Eng onto the stage of world history, in favor of an alluring balance between the elegiac and the ironic." Publishers Weekly
"Part historical novel, part commentary on the human condition...powerful and often poetic..." Library Journal
"With this sprawling, beautiful novel that touches on everything from slavery to the shadows of unremembered memory, Chang and Eng have inspired another winner." Booklist
"Splendid, with notable film potential." Kirkus Reviews
In a masterstroke of creative storytelling, Mark Slouka, the acclaimed author of Lost Lake and Other Stories, narrates the lives of Chang and Eng, the original Siamese twins.
At their birth, the midwives ran in horror. The King of Siam feared evil and sent physicians to separate them. Chang and Eng, joined at the chest, entered a world that was equally revolted and fascinated by their peculiar condition. The sons of an illiterate fishmonger, their introduction to the West would be the stage of a freak show. And they would eventually end up in the American South on the verge of the Civil War, as divided spiritually as their adopted countrymen.
About the Author
Mark Slouka's story "The Woodcarver's Tale" won a National Magazine Award in Fiction for Harper's in 1995. He is a graduate of Columbia and has taught at Columbia, Harvard, Penn State, and the University of Virginia. He lives in California with his wife and two children. Lost Lake is his first work of fiction
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