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The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint: A Novel

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“Profound and stirring . . . brilliantly executed.”—Wall Street Journal
“Rambling and generous . . . it reads at times like a John Irving novel touched up by Roy Blount Jr. . . . Sweet, sad, and refreshing.”—New York Times Book Review

“[Edgar’s] soul is as spotless as John Wayne’s .45, and so is Udall’s sharp and rangy prose. His similes sting, his sentences go bang, and his chapters roll like the wagon wheels across the harsh Mormon desert of right and wrong.”—GQ

“Extraordinary. . . . There are pages that are just fall-down funny. . . . It’s like nothing else you’ve ever read.”—Newsweek

“Vibrant, big-hearted. . . . A poignant, picaresque odyssey.”?—Chicago Tribune

“A marvelous first novel. . . . An adept mix of humor and pathos.”—Los Angeles Times

“An ingenious tale [that] takes its heart from Dickens and its soul from America’s great outlaw West.”—Elle

Publishers Weekly Review

May 28, 2001 – Reminiscent of another debut—Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest—this powerful first novel by short story writer Udall (Letting Loose the Hounds) is constructed around grotesque set pieces; black humor drives the plot. Set in the late '60s, Udall's story begins when seven-year-old Edgar Mint, the half-Apache, half-white narrator, is run over by the mailman's car, his head crushed. Abandoned by his grandmother and alcoholic mother after his remarkable recovery, the boy begins an odyssey through various institutions and homes, starting with St. Divine's hospital in Globe, Ariz., where he recuperates, through Willie Sherman's, a horrific school for Indian children, ending up placed with a dysfunctional Mormon family in Richland, Utah. The novel's long middle section, describing Edgar's brutalization at the Indian school by the other kids, captures the effect of what seems like endless bullying on a child's consciousness. Against this hostility, Edgar concocts a homemade magic, which consists mainly of typing on a clunky Hermes typewriter given to him by a fellow St. Divine's patient, Art Crozier, a middle-aged man who has lost his family in a car wreck. One of Udall's best touches is to make the doctor who saved Edgar, Barry Pinkley, into a mysterious and menacing figure, perpetually lurking on the sidelines, rather like Clare Quilty in Lolita. While Pinkley strives maniacally to be Edgar's guardian angel, the boy views him with ambivalent loathing. When Pinkley, disguised as a Mormon missionary, seduces Lana Madsen, the wife in the Mormon family that takes Edgar in, he sets off the final catastrophe in the boy's life. Udall's style is reminiscent of the '60s black humorists, but he doesn't share their easy cruelty or inveterate superciliousness, making this not only an accomplished novel, but a wise one.

Customer Reviews

Thoroughly entertaining and original

Read it a few months ago, and it has stuck with me

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint: A Novel
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Jun 28, 2010
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Seller: W. W. Norton
  • Print Length: 432 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings