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Human Amusementsby Wayne Johnston
Synopses & Reviews
Offering further evidence of his astounding range as a novelist, the bestselling author of The Colony of Unrequited Dreams and The Navigator of New York crafts a hilarious and moving paean to the dawn of the television age. Henry Prendergast grew up on television—not merely watching it, but starring in the wildly popular children’s show “Rumpus Room.” Cast in the roles of Bee Good and Bee Bad by his mother Audrey, the show’s creator, Henry came of age along with the new medium—one that would soon propel his family out Toronto’s middle-class life and into the tabloids.
Henry’s father Peter, a would-be novelist, refuses to have any part in his wife’s burgeoning television empire, but commits himself instead to the task of being a walking, talking—mostly scathing—reminder of the family’s “humble beginnings.” Then, on the heels of Rumpus Room, Audrey dreams up The Philo Farnsworth Show, loosely based on the life story of the young teen credited with inventing the tube and starring Henry in the lead role. Rapidly amassing a cult-like following of “Philosophers,” the show challenges the Prendergasts anew. Forced into increasing isolation by a fervent media, they must work harder than ever to not let success get the best of them.
In a novel set in Toronto at the dawn of the television age, Henry Predergast, a one-time child star, details his early career on Rumpus Room in the roles of Bee Good and Bee Bad and as the title character in The Philo Farnsworth Show and describes the impact of his extraordinary success on his own life and on his family. Original. 10,000 first printing.
About the Author
Wayne Johnston is the author of several novels, including The Colony of Unrequited Dreams and The Divine Ryans, and the memoir Baltimore’s Mansion. He was born and raised in Newfoundland and now lives in Toronto.
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