A bad man

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Warner Books, 1980 - Fiction - 368 pages
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A BAD MAN

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Elkin, whose Boswell (1964) heralded a major talent, continues to dazzle; he's got the wit, he's got the words, but he still lacks a story capable of attracting and holding a large audience. Boswell ... Read full review

Review: A Bad Man

User Review  - Leonard - Goodreads

I'd never heard of Elkin when I first read this book. He's now one of my favorites, and this book is hilarious and well-written. Read full review

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About the author (1980)

Without a bestseller to his credit or a lot of critical attention, Stanley Elkin has steadily, quietly worked his way into the higher ranks of contemporary American novelists. He was born in New York, but grew up in Chicago and has spent most of his life since in the Midwest, receiving his Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois with a dissertation on William Faulkner and teaching since 1960 at Washington University in St. Louis. Reviewers found Elkin's first novel, Boswell: A Modern Comedy (1964), the story of an uninhibited modern-day counterpart of the eighteenth-century biographer, hilarious and promising, while the stories in Criers and Kibitzers, Kibitzers and Criers (1966) established Elkin as a writer capable of writing short stories of textbook-anthology quality. The ironically entitled A Bad Man (1967) is about a Jewish department store magnate who deliberately arranges to have himself convicted of several misdeeds so that he can experience the real world of a prison and carry on his own war with the warden in what takes on the dimensions of a burlesque existential allegory. The Dick Gibson Show (1971) uses the host of a radio talk show as a way of showing fancifully what it means to live "at sound barrier," and both Searchers and Seizures (1973) and The Living End (1979) are triptychs of related stories verging on surrealism. The Franchiser (1976), generally considered Elkin's best novel before George Mills, uses the story of a traveling salesman of franchises to show the flattening homogenization of American life. But as usual, what happens in this Elkin novel is less important than the way in which the story is told.

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