The Amalgamation Polka
by Stephen Wright, a review from Christian Science Monitor by Yvonne Zipp.
"From the first sentence of his new novel, Stephen Wright wants to be sure he has the reader's attention: 'The bearded ladies were dancing in the mud.' And singing. And just when you start grinning at the goofiness of it all, you realize the 'ladies' are Civil War deserters, and the carnival-like atmosphere gives way to darkness. That audacious, ambitious tone runs throughout The Amalgamation Polka where absurdist humor and horror do battle with each other, occasionally crowding logic off the page. The coming-of-age tale of teenage soldier Liberty Fish, the novel is also about the American character. It is not a flattering likeness, but, before the book literally and figuratively heads south in its final section, it is almost always a compelling one." Read the entire Christian Science Monitor review.