A unique, macabre, and extremely moving look at the life of one Andy Archway, a kid born to be an embalmer, describes his efforts to break the single-season embalming record, which was originally set back in '42. A first novel.
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As evidenced in his wacky first novel, Prill is an innovative humorist who somehow manages to marry the engaging coming-of-age tale of a fledgling undertaker to a sports saga that's a black-humored riff on Malamud's The Natural, creating a wildly comic hybrid in the process. Andy Archway, a young Minnesota farmboy with a talent for embalming, is "discovered" by funeral scout Wake Wakefield and signed to a contract to help famous funeral mogul P.T. Sunnyside bring the mortuary business into the 21st century. But Andy has designs on the legendary Janus P. Mordecai's single-season embalming record of 1769 bodies, and Sunnyside's competitors, the small statured but hugely bizarre Drabford Brothers, steal Andy away from Sunnyside by offering him a chance to set the record in the wartorn and famine-riddled African nation of Soma. There, circumstances conspire against Andy's run at the record, and upon his return to the States he finds himself embroiled in a battle between Sunnyside and the Bradfords over the shape of funerals to come. Prill stretches his sports metaphor to the breaking point, and the plot falls apart well short of resolution?but all that hardly matters. There are so many wonderful comic conceits here, so much outrageous farce and ludicrous dialogue that the story line seems extraneous anyway. Highlights include Andy's training as a member of a competitive collegiate embalming team, his first job?helping to build a California theme park for the dead?and some of the creative final arrangements he comes up with for the folks back on the farm. Occasionally the humor is just plain silly, but there's no doubt that this joker of a novel marks the debut of a significant comic talent.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description St Martins Pr, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0312119100
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110312119100