Synopses & Reviews
The Convalescent is the story of a small, bearded man selling meat out of a bus parked next to a stream in suburban Virginia... and also, somehow, the story of 10,000 years of Hungarian history. Jessica Anthony, the inaugural winner of the Amanda Davis Highwire Fiction Award, makes an unforgettable debut with an unforgettable hero: Rovar Ákos Pfliegman unlikely bandit, unloved lover, and historian of the unimportant.
"Anthony's compulsively readable debut novel stars Rovar Pfliegman, who sells meat out of a bus in Virginia. Rovar is a peculiar, troll-like man: he is short and hairy, has not spoken since childhood, keeps a pet beetle and lives in the same broken-down bus that houses his meat business. But perhaps the most remarkable thing about Rovar is his precarious singularity. He is the last of the Pfliegmans and, by his own account, he is falling apart. Although he halfheartedly seeks treatment for his various ailments, he seems far more bent on fulfilling the destiny of self-destruction all Pfliegmans (according to Rovar) are subject to. Rovar's explanation of his family sprawls deep into the past, probing beyond his chaotic childhood all the way back to the origins of the Pfliegman clan in premedieval Hungary. Along the way, the narrative nods to all sorts of greats Kafka, Rushdie, Darwin and Grass, to name a few. But Anthony's style funny, immediate and unapologetically cerebral carves out a space all its own. (July)" Publishers Weekly (starred review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Jessica Anthony is a writer possessed of mind-bending talents.
Inconceivably, she's written a novel that's innocent and wise, grave and
hilarious, bleak and hopeful, fast-paced and meditative, heartbreaking and heart healthy, evanescent and concrete. Reading it, I felt as though I'd stumbled upon a magical text that might, at any moment, disappear from my hands. The Convalescent is that kind of special." Heidi Julavits
"Jessica Anthony has given a voice wry, sad, and arresting to the wounded
little homunculus that lives, largely ignored, in all of us, a creature that
wrestles with a guilt and grief that is as historical as it is personal. The
Convalescent is a melancholy delight." Chris Adrian
"The Convalescent is a fleshy fable spinning in and out of its own enormous,
fabulous history. It is lush, cranky, and powered by dark, sweet humor.
Mesmerizing. And a lot of fun. I enjoyed it completely." Katherine Dunn
"A blissfully nutty, brainy, ribald, brilliantly imaginative ode to human loneliness, oddity, and persistence" Francisco Goldman
Anthony, the inaugural winner of the Amanda Davis Highwire Fiction Award, makes an unforgettable debut with an unforgettable hero: Seymour Akos Pfliegman--unlikely bandit, unloved lover, and historian of the unimportant.