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The Pharmacist's Mate: A Tale of Birth, Death, Guitars, and Goldfishby Amy Fusselman
Synopses & Reviews
This book is only sort of about electrical engineering on boats. In fact, it does not really involve engineering at all, though it does involve boats. This is Ms. Fusselman's first book, and while it involves the Navy and WWII, it is at its core a truly gorgeous book about family and procreation, and that's about all we will say for now. It also involves music and death.
The Pharmacist's Mate combines Amy Fusselman's story of death, insemination, and music, with excerpts from her father's World War II journal, written while he was the Pharmacist's Mate on the Liberty Ship George E Pickett.
If you are interested in any of the following subjects, you may like this book:
"A brief miracle of a book." Dave Eggers, author of You Shall Know Our Velocity and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
"Fusselman's background in zines...is evident in her direct, mildly wry prose style and the book's many fine digressions....It takes a stony heart not to appreciate Fusselman's tiny but profound epiphanies about life, family, memory and the physical space we take up while we're on the planet." Jason Anderson, Eye Weekly
"Instead of being a navel-gazing exercise in recollecting one's personal moments...The Pharmacist's Mate is a book that refreshingly calls into question the entire idea of memoir....Fusselman leaves many things lurking and unexplained, and in that way, at least, her book reads like good fiction (something it has in common with A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius)." Clay Smith, The Austin Chronicle
"A weird, quirky, wonderful novel about love and loss. It's a book that makes no sense on the surface because it's all about how you feel when your father dies, how you feel when you can't get pregnant, how you feel when your life is stalled. But if you have Amy Fusselman's heart and sense of humor, it feels wonderful, too." Andy Weinberg, BookSense
"As a rule, I am not scared of fish or individuals who stand less than five feet in their stockinged feet; this is because I do not expect small things to deliver a hefty punch. And yet Ms. Fusselman's book, brief as it is, affected me deeply. Not only that, the talent displayed therein was somewhat unnerving. In only eighty-six pages we find death, and birth and rebirth and other profundities. I cannot understand how this happened. It runs contrary to all human sense." Zadie Smith, author of White Teeth
"In clean, simple prose that is as powerful as it is spare, The Pharmacist's Mate weaves together life and loss, the story of a wanted pregnancy, and a mourned father. It's impossible not to surrender to Amy Fusselman's lovely haunting voice and strange meditations." Amanda Davis, author of Circling the Drain
Named "It" Discovery Writer of the Year by Entertainment Weekly, Amy Fusselman took readers and critics alike by storm when McSweeney's published this powerful little book. In The Pharmacist's Mate, she writes of her father's death and her own attempts to become pregnant, weaving in excerpts from her father's World War II journal-written while he was a pharmacist's mate on the Liberty ship George E. Pickett. Fusselman creates a work both startlingly real and deeply funny-all wrapped up in writing so clever and warm it will leave you feeling that everything will be okay.
About the Author
The Pharmacist's Mate is Amy Fusselman's first book. Her writing has appeared in Pierogi Press, Emergency Gazette, and McSweeney's. From 1993-98 she published a small magazine of her writings and drawings called Bunnyrabbit. She is currently a freelance writer. She lives in New York City with her husband.
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