A Congress of Wonders

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Counterpoint, 1996 - Fiction - 161 pages
1 Review
Set around World War II, the three hilarious stories in the collection are linked by the presence of one Philander Cosmo Rexroat, B.S., M.S., "Pee Aitch Dee," resurrected here from McClanahan's bestselling book The Natural Man, where he appeared as "the Cecil B. De Mille of Sex Hygiene Entertainment." In these stories, Rexroat turns up in several new guises: preacher, sideshow spieler, and bogus physician.
"Juanita and the Frog Prince" tells of a pregnant jailhouse laundress whose ill fate is transformed by a magical encounter with Luther "Two-Nose" Jukes, an inmate awaiting trial for murder. The title story walks us down the carnival midway and a step beyond, as the ubiquitous Rexroat, his consort Wanda Pearl, and a clairvoyant hermaphrodite - "It's that old morphadyke again!" - provide the way station for a boy's journey into the grown-up world of love, loss, and hocus-pocus. "Finch's Song," the tale of Needmore's most beleaguered denizen, a school bus driver endlessly tormented by his ruthless half brother, is both a love story and a story of retribution.

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A CONGRESS OF WONDERS

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A first collection of three long pieces, all set in the 1940s- -``dark and ignorant times'' for the small-town folk that McClanahan (The Natural Man, 1983, etc.) continues to bring to life in his ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - varielle - LibraryThing

This was a quick and pleasant read. These humorous, intertwining stories are set in rural Kentucky during World War II. The author's voice rings true for the time and place without becoming annoying or getting lost in the dialect. Read full review

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About the author (1996)

Ed McClanahan is the author of several books, and his writing has appeared in Esquire, Rolling Stone, and Playboy. McClanahan has taught English and creative writing at Oregon State University, Stanford University, the University of Montana, and the University of Kentucky. He and his wife live in Lexington, Kentucky.

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