The Final Confession of Mabel Stark: A Novel (An Evergreen book)

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9780802140432: The Final Confession of Mabel Stark: A Novel (An Evergreen book)

In the 1910s and '20s, during the golden age of the big top, Mabel Stark was the superstar of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, and one of America's most eccentric celebrities. A tiny, curvaceous Kentucky blonde in a white leather bodysuit, Mabel was brazen, sexually adventurous, and suicidally courageous. The Final Confession of Mabel Stark is Robert Hough's brilliant, highly acclaimed novelization of her fantastic life. It is 1968 — Mabel is just turning eighty and is about to lose her job at Jungleland, a Southern California game park. Devastated by the loss of her cats, she looks back on her life and her five husbands: the fifth would one day be tragically mauled by her one true love, her ferocious yet amorous 550-pound Bengal tiger Rajah. Starting with her escape from a mental institution to begin her circus career as a burlesque dancer, Mabel's exquisitely voiced confession is a live wire of dark secrets, broken dreams, and comic escapades. It is a brilliant, exhilarating story of an America before television and movies, when the spectacle of the circus reigned and an unlikely woman captured the public imagination with her singular charm and audacity.

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From the Back Cover:

“Robert Hough pulls together fact and fiction to unfurl a life that invites sheer, slack-jawed fascination.” -- Lynn Coady, Time

“The frame story, of an octogenarian Stark in danger of losing her job at the JungleLand wildlife park, is reminiscent of both The Stone Angel and The Stone Diaries.” -- The Vancouver Sun

“Robert Hough pulls together fact and fiction to unfurl a life that invites sheer, slack-jawed fascination.” -- Time

“A marvelous debut…narrated with delicious humour and warmth. Just about perfect. One of the most entertaining novels in many a year.” -- Kirkus

“Never flagging, the compelling story thunders along like a runaway circus train bearing a dangerous cargo of painful memory, wild animals, grotesque characters and outlandish stories, all told through the distinctive, often humorous, voice Hough creates for his protagonist.” -- The Globe and Mail

From the Back Cover:

“First novelist Roberty Hough pulls together fact and fiction to unfurl a life that invites sheer, slack-jawed fascination. High brings this fiery, bawdy and wildly courageous perfomer vividly and intimately to life and in the process narrates a life story too unbelievable to be anything but true…In this book, [Hough] has created one of the most remarkablem sympathetic and finely rendered characters I have come across anywhere. He gives Stark a distinctive, believable first-person voice with the earthy, no-nonsense attitude one cold expect only from a woman who had spent her life criss-crossing the continent in the company of freaks, grifters, thieves and wild animals…No one’s life sotry — not even Mabel Stark’s — could be so compelling without the deft hadn of a pretty great writer, Robert Hough is himself a very impressive act.” —Lynn Coady, Time

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Book Description Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press, United States, 2004. Microfilm. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Mabel Stark was the greatest female tiger trainer in history. In the 1910s and 20s, during the golden age of the big top, she was the superstar of the Ringling Brothers Barnum Bailey Circus, and one of America s most eccentric celebrities. A tiny, curvaceous Kentucky blonde in a white leather bodysuit, Mabel was brazen, sexually adventurous, and suicidally courageous. The Final Confession of Mabel Stark is Robert Hough s brilliant, highly acclaimed nov-elization of her fantastic life. It is 1968--Mabel is just turning eighty and is about to lose her job at Jungle-land, a Southern California game park. Devastated by the loss of her cats, she looks back on her life and her five husbands: the fifth, a man with a curious taste for women s clothes, would one day be tragically mauled by her one true love, her ferocious yet amorous 550-pound Bengal tiger Rajah. Starting with her escape from a mental institution to begin her circus career as a burlesque dancer, Mabel s exquisitely voiced confession is a live wire of dark secrets, broken dreams, and comic escapades. It is a brilliant, exhilarating story of an America before television and movies, when the spectacle of the circus reigned and an unlikely woman captured the public imagination with her singular charm and audacity. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780802140432

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