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The Miracle Life of Edgar Mintby Brady Udall
Synopses & Reviews
In an essay written for Powells.com, Brady Udall recounts a trip he made in junior high to an Indian reservation in Arizona for a football game. Udall was shocked at the run-down school, but he was even more surprised when, after the visiting team won handily, their school bus was pelted with rocks and bottles. Through the window, Udall spied a single boy, who regarded Udall with "a look that was a mixture of world-weariness and sad disdain. He didn't like me, this was clear, but it seemed that he was just too tired and spent to work up any real hate for me." Udall knew virtually nothing about this boy, but was nonetheless haunted by him, so much so that he eventually decided to write about him. He gave him a name and a history, and in return, received the protagonist of this celebrated first novel. Many critics have noted Udall's obvious debt to Dickens, pointing out the particularly Dickensian details of his young orphan's life: the early abandonment, the hellish boarding school, the weird foster family, etc. But what makes the comparison most apt is the fundamental goodness that defines his hero and the deep compassion and humor that run through the narrative. Martin, Powells.com
With the inventive acuity of John Irving, this riveting picaresque novel chronicles the hopes and heartbreaks of Edgar Presley Mint. Half Apache and mostly orphaned, Edgar's trials begin on an Arizona reservation at the age of seven, when the mailman's jeep accidentally runs over his head. Shunted from the hospital to a school for delinquents to a Mormon foster family, comedy, pain, and trouble accompany Edgar through a string of larger-than-life experiences. Through it all, readers will root for this irresistible innocent who never truly loses heart, and whose quest for the mailman leads him to an unexpected home.
"Udall's style is reminiscent of the '60s black humorists, but he doesn't share their easy cruelty or inveterate superciliousness, making this not only an accomplished novel, but a wise one." Publishers Weekly
"A remarkably assured debut novel that brings to life a unique world, tells its story with skill, and remains enthralling throughout. A bit of a miracle in its own right." Kirkus Reviews
"The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint is an odyssey through the New West, where affluent Mormons and dead-end reservation kids share the same zip code and the same climate, but little else. Edgar, the wounded, utterly orphaned, and utterly courageous narrator of Brady Udall's outstanding novel, would have pleased Dickens no end. Enmeshed in these pages is some of the finest writing I've come across in a long time, as well as a story that tears at you and calls you back to it no matter what you're up to. There is also a human heart beating in here, as beautiful and profound as your own." Junot Diaz, author of Drown
"I loved Brady Udall's wild, hilarious story collection, Letting Loose the Hounds, and now he's back and even better. Now he's let loose a miracle of a novel and created a miracle of a character in Edgar Mint. I'll never forget the story of his life, and I'm grateful to Brady Udall for writing it." Tom Franklin, author of Poachers
"The whole blessed/bloody roil of the human condition course through The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint. If Dickens had been born in Arizona, he might have written a book like this." Tony Earley, author of Jim the Boy
"A new generation of writers is emerging from the West...Brady Udall is one of the very best of them." William Kittredge, author of The Nature of Generosity
"Brady Udall has got what it takes." Clyde Edgerton, author of Walking Across Egypt
Half Apache and mostly orphaned, Edgar's trials begin on an Arizona reservation at the age of seven, when the mailman's jeep accidentally runs over his head. Shunted from the hospital to a school for delinquents to a Mormon foster family, comedy, pain, and trouble accompany Edgar through a string of larger-than-life experiences. Through it all, readers will root for this irresistible innocent who never truly loses heart, and whose quest for the mailman leads him to an unexpected home.
About the Author
Brady Udall is the author of Letting Loose the Hounds, The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint, and The Lonely Polygamist. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, Esquire, Playboy, and elsewhere. He lives in Boise, Idaho.
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