The Last Queen of the Gypsies

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NewSouth Books, Nov 1, 2010 - Fiction - 266 pages
William Cobb's first novel in nine years is a brilliant, quirky, highly readable story as compelling as it is original. Its main characters journey on parallel quests: Lester Ray, a fourteen-year-old boy who was deserted by his mother when he was a baby and has now escaped his abusive alcoholic father, and Minnie, a woman who was abandoned by her Gypsy family of migrant fruit pickers when she was eleven. The novel interweaves their searches for families they never really knew. It ranges from the Great Depression to the mid-1960s, and from the panhandle of Florida, where much of the novel is set, to New York City during World War II, to the Georgia and Carolina coasts, to Fort Myers and south Florida. Lester Ray finds work with a carnival as he looks for his mother, accompanied by all the odd and strange and wonderful people who make up that world. Minnie moves from the dry sandy heat of central Florida in 1933, to a brothel in Cedar Key, to New York, to the little town of Piper, to the winter camps of the Gypsies near Fort Myers. She is--first as a girl, then as a woman--a person of immense fortitude and strength, as engaging and unforgettable as Scarlett O'Hara.
 

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Contents

Central Florida November 1932
9
Piper Florida June 1964
25
Central Florida November 1932
44
Piper Florida July 1964
52
Cedar Key Florida 1939
71
The Panhandle Florida July 1964
84
New York City December 1942
104
South Alabama State Fair September 1964
120
Near East Dublin Georgia June 1949
172
Coastal Georgia Fairgrounds November 1964
195
Piper Florida December 1949
207
Coastal Georgia Fairgrounds November 1964
223
Piper Florida January 1950
247
Fort Myers Florida Winter 1964
268
Florida Spring 1950
284
Fort Myers Florida Winter 1964
309

In Northern Virginia April 1943
139
Gwinnett County Georgia October 1964
155
Acknowledgments
320
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

William Cobb has written six critically acclaimed novels: Coming of Age at the Y, The Hermit King, A Walk Through Fire, Harry Reunited, A Spring of Souls and Wings of Morning. His collection of short stories is Somewhere in All This Green. He was writer-in-residence at the University of Montevallo and was the 2007 winner of the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished fiction writing.

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