Read Among the Wonderful: A Novel by Stacy Carlson Free Online
Book Title: Among the Wonderful: A Novel|
The author of the book: Stacy Carlson
Date of issue: August 2nd 2011
ISBN 13: 9781586421847
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 518 KB
Read full description of the books Among the Wonderful: A Novel:In 1842 Phineas T. Barnum is a young man, freshly arrived in New York and still unknown to the world. With uncanny confidence and impeccable timing, he transforms a dusty natural history museum into a great ark for public imagination. Barnum's museum, with its human wonders and extraordinary live animal menagerie, rises to become not only the nation's most popular attraction, but also a catalyst that ushers America out of a culture of glassed-in exhibits and into the modern age of entertainment.
In this kaleidoscopic setting, the stories of two compelling characters are brought to life. Emile Guillaudeu is the museum's grumpy taxidermist, who is horrified by the chaotic change Barnum brings to his beloved institution. Ana Swift is a professional giantess plagued by chronic pain and jaded by a world of gawkers. The differences between these two are many: one is isolated and spends his working hours making dead things look alive, while the other has people pushing against her, and reacting to her, every day. But they both move toward change, one against his will, propelled by a paradigm shift happening whether he likes it or not, and the other because she is struggling to survive. In many shapes and forms, metamorphosis is at the core of Among the Wonderful. Pursuing this theme, the book weaves a world where upper Manhattan is still untrammeled wilderness, the Five Points is at the height of its bloody glory, and within the walls of Barnum's museum, ancient tribal feuds play out in the midst of an unlikely community of marvels.
Read information about the authorMy work springs from forgotten details of the historical past. Scientists once believed swallows hibernated at the bottom of lakes; Russian monks aboard a ship in the arctic claimed they saw Judas Iscariot adrift on an ice floe; Harlem was once a savanna, and PT Barnum once hosted a devious buffalo hunt in Brooklyn. Who were those monks and what were they doing in the arctic? What, exactly, was in a scientist’s 18th century cabinet of wonders? What manner of wildlife wandered the Harlem grasslands? I catch details that flash with this poetic possibility and harness the imaginative worlds that spring up around them. I build novels for these worlds to live in.
Antebellum America is a period so far removed from us that I consider it in the realm of folklore. The northern half of Manhattan Island was still covered by farms and marshland (and savanna). In the lower half, the Five Points was a terribly fascinating nest of vipers just around the corner from a primordial Wall Street. Between these two poles, PT Barnum peddled dreams in a labyrinthine museum whose resemblance to Pandora’s box I try not to belabor. I was fascinated by the fictional possibilities of Barnum’s museum and inspired by the confluence (or collision) between the encyclopedic world view of the 18th century and the modern age of science and entertainment. Among the Wonderful is the result of this fascination.
My fiction and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, Post Road, In Pieces: An Anthology of Fragmentary Writing, and Inkwell. I was awarded a 2010 artist residency at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and a residency at Galleri Svalbard, in arctic Norway. I received the 2003 Dana Portfolio Award, given for three book-length manuscripts. I have an MFA in fiction from Sarah Lawrence College.
I grew up in Seattle and now live in Oakland, California. When I’m not writing novels I may be found working as a freelance historical ecologist and writer/editor specializing in book development and all levels of technical and literary editing. My background includes work as a historical ecologist, in a fish cannery, as a hot springs caretaker, a field biologist on a bird refuge in southeast Alaska, and an assistant wilderness guide in arctic Alaska and Big Sur, California.
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