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The Real McCoy

Strauss, Darin

90 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0525946519 / ISBN 13: 9780525946519
Published by Dutton, New York, 2002
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Gumshoe Books (Columbia, SC, U.S.A.)

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the second novel by the author of chang and eng. meet kid mccoy aman of parts. some pretty seemy. Size: 8vo. Bookseller Inventory # 017347

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Real McCoy

Publisher: Dutton, New York

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


The New York Times Book Review called Chang and Eng, Darin Strauss's extraordinary debut novel, "a spirited story of heroic longing." Joyce Carol Oates called it "a remarkable first of the most riskily imagined and successfully realized novels I've read in years." Now this uncommonly gifted storyteller brings us another strikingly original novel.

Are you the Real McCoy?

Loosely based on the real life of a turn-of-the-century icon and charlatan, The Real McCoy introduces a character like no other in recent contemporary fiction. "Kid" McCoy was a man of many talents and faces: championship boxer, jewel thief, scam artist, and grifter extraordinaire. Unfolding against the tumultuous backdrop of history, his story becomes a fascinating mirror of the times as he moves from city to city in pursuit of the next con, always living life as he becomes a legend and a symbol of all that's true in America. An audacious and unforgettable novel about identity, illusion, and the search for love, The Real McCoy is bound to become another literary sensation.


Deadpan comic and grandly imaginative, The Real McCoy, Darin Strauss's recounting of the life of a legendary grifter, is a sparkling, memorable novel. Strauss (author of the highly acclaimed Chang and Eng) tells the story of Virgil Selby, or "Kid" McCoy, turn-of-the-century flimflammer, welterweight champion, and the speculative origin of the famous titular catch phrase. After witnessing the death of a small-time boxer named McCoy, young Selby adopts his name and reputation and leaves his Indiana home to achieve renown. Taking up residence in Louisville, McCoy befriends brilliant Chinese con man Jonnie Gold, who teaches McCoy the twist fist fighting style and the art of the flimflam. The naive and monomaniacal McCoy soon departs for New York City, where he uses his newfound trickery to conquer the boxing world, marry a Broadway starlet, and become a minor celebrity and the origin of a national phenomenon. However, McCoy's perpetual mythmaking catches up with him, revealing the cost of his attempts to turn a life of fiction into immortality.

Strauss has created a resounding personal narrative and cultural allegory with The Real McCoy. The hopeful, starstruck McCoy embodies the obsessive American tendency toward self-improvement and reinvention, and demonstrates the consequences of these ideals. Like its hero's successful though obvious scams, The Real McCoy is wonderfully entertaining fiction that reveals no small amount of truth. --Ross Doll

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