Half Apache and mostly orphaned, the adventures of Edgar Presley Mint begin on an Arizona reservation at the age of seven, when the mailman's jeep accidentally runs over his head. Shunted from the hospital to a reform school to a Mormon foster family, comedy and trouble accompany Edgar - the irresistible innocent who never truly loses heart, and whose quest for the mailman leads him to an unexpected home. This riveting picaresque novel has become an international best-seller.
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(198mm x 129mm x 26mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
This is an ambitious debut novel, both in its scope and in the structure of the narrative. Edgar Mint is a seven-year-old boy, half-Apache, half white, whose life is dramatically changed one day when the mailman's van runs over his head. Assumed dead, Edgar is taken to hospital where his life is saved by a young doctor named Barry Pinkley. On eventually resuming consciousness three months later, Edgar, who narrates the story, remembers nothing of his previous life. Edgar's alcoholic mother doesn't come to visit him; his father disappeared before he was born. So Edgar is sent to a publicly funded school for Indian children where he is sadistically bullied by other boys while the teachers turn a blind eye. He maintains his sanity by recording everything that happens to him on an old typewriter. Despite his unhappy and eventful life, Edgar has a sense of mission. He seems to be able to survive anything fate throws at him and believes he has a purpose - a purpose that finally becomes clear at the end of the novel. Yet he is a curiously detached kind of hero. He sometimes recounts the story as if it had happened to someone else, describing events before he was born that he couldn't know about, and occasionally slipping briefly into the third person - as if he has to stand outside himself to recall these intensely painful memories. The effect is a disconcerting one. Although the reader can feel horrified at the things that happen to Edgar, it's difficult to engage with him as a person. There's an odd ambivalence too, in his attitude to Barry Pinkley, the doctor who saved his life and who keeps returning to visit him: Edgar distrusts Pinkley, but we never quite know what the man's motives are. At the same time, it's impossible to deny Udall's achievement in creating such an absorbing and shocking novel. There isn't a dull moment in this book, and the final revelation is genuinely surprising - and satisfying. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Brady Udall
Brady Udall is the author of Letting Loose the Hounds and, most recently, The Lonely Polygamist. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, Playboy, GQ and Esquire, and his stories and essays have been featured on National Public Radio's This American Life. He teaches in the MFA program at Boise State University, and lives in Boise, Idaho and Teasdale, Utah with his wife and children.