When Frank, an Irish dwarf, writes a personal memoir, he moves from dark isolation into the public eye. This luminous journey is marked by memories of his lonely childhood, secrets of his doomed young mother, and his passion for a woman who is as unreachable as the stars.
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An improbable, sometimes inflated, but often amusing melodrama of the life and loves of a 43-inch Irish dwarf who's an amateur astronomer and soon-to-be-celebrated author--by astronomy professor and author Raymo (In the Falcon's Claw, 1990, etc.). Frank Bois is the ``wee'' son of a French WW II refugee, Bernadette Bois, and an unknown American sailor whose troopship set Bernadette down in the city of Cork in 1945. Frank, now middle-aged and living in the flat where his mother first settled 43 years earlier, has obsessively unearthed details of her past and recounts them in a narrative that parallels that of the book he's about to publish: how his clairvoyant mother, then 12, mysteriously became the only survivor of a German landmine explosion that killed ten other children in Fleurville, France, and how she was celebrated in the town as a saint; how her father, a farmer, was executed by the Germans and her mother went mad; how she stowed away aboard the troopship, ``fukked'' a score of sailors, and became pregnant at 16; how Jack Kelly, the wonderful Irish immigration officer in charge of her case, befriended her and, later, her hideous baby, a dwarf; how Jack taught the dwarf to love beauty and study the stars; how Bernadette, a great beauty herself, drove to ruin a number of men before she, too, went mad and committed suicide; how her son Frank, the dwarf, became a voyeur and pervert after falling unrequitedly in love with one of Jack's six beautiful daughters--a girl named Emma, who also went briefly crazy because of an evil affair with a German astronomer living in Cork; and how, finally- -after endless other adventures and many ruminations on whether beauty is skin-deep or resides in the stars or in the soul--how Frank wins middle-aged Emma's hand in an innocent, pure, romanticized version of marriage. At times overly ``philosophical'' and at other times disconcertingly bawdy, but, overall, an entertaining pastiche. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
"Begin with beauty," commands the opening sentence of this powerful novel, suffused with a 19th-century Romantic sensibility; its trite, although heartfelt, closing plea--"Hold me"--encapsulates the narrative's shift in focus from wide-ranging contemplation to the personal realization of love. Set in Cork, Ireland, this philosophic, imaginatively plotted tale is narrated by Frank Bois, a 43-year-old dwarf who has just completed a semi-autobiographical book. In a rambling internal dialogue he reminisces about the events his volume covers: his birth after WW II; his emotionally distant mother, who took many lovers; and his early decision to sublimate his sexuality (after a prostitute told him, "Be gone, ye little dork") by immersing himself in a passion for the moon and stars. Frank interrupts the chronological narrative with personal meditations, some about his writing career; he considers his book a literary freak show, knowing that people are amazed by his appreciation of beauty because, to them, he represents ugliness. Raymo ( In the Falcon's Claw ) so skillfully manipulates the author-within-an-author narration that it's easy to forget that Frank is a fictional entity. His unique, epiphanic and bluntly truthful story forces a reconsideration of the beautiful and the grotesque.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Warner Books, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0349104581