Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Charlatan's Boy: A Novel by Jonathan Rogers

As far back as he can remember, the orphan Grady has tramped from village to village in the company of a huckster named Floyd. With his adolescent accomplice, Floyd perpetrates a variety of hoaxes and flimflams on the good citizens of the Corenwald frontier, such as the Ugliest Boy in the World act.

It’s a hard way to make a living, made harder by the memory of fatter times when audiences thronged to see young Grady perform as “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.” But what can they do? Nobody believes in feechies anymore.

When Floyd stages an elaborate plot to revive Corenwalders’ belief in the mythical swamp-dwellers known as the feechiefolk, he overshoots the mark. Floyd’s Great Feechie Scare becomes widespread panic. Eager audiences become angry mobs, and in the ensuing chaos, the Charlatan’s Boy discovers the truth that has evaded him all his life—and will change his path forever.

I absolutely had a blast with this book. Just the cover is enough to put me in a good mood.

love the quirky almost Mark Twain-y style of writing, with its dialectical nuances and grammatical details. Grady, the main character is hilarious, with a self-deprecating humor that sustains the book all the way through.

The story line is solid, which is hard to do when you’re dealing with so many fantastical elements , and I never found myself bored or wishing a particular section would be over. All the characters have great flavor, with wholly distinctive voices.

Some scenes had me laughing out loud at the craziness. As you can probably tell, I loved this book and I can recommend it to everybody without worry. Go and immerse yourself in the Feechie scare.

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