The Convalescent

Jessica Anthony, Author
Jessica Anthony, Author . McSweeney's $22 (243p) ISBN 978-1-934781-10-4
Reviewed on: 05/04/2009
Release date: 06/01/2009
Paperback - 243 pages - 978-0-8021-4495-9
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Anthony's compulsively readable debut novel stars Rovar Pfliegman, who sells meat out of a bus in Virginia. Rovar is a peculiar, troll-like man: he is short and hairy, has not spoken since childhood, keeps a pet beetle and lives in the same broken-down bus that houses his meat business. But perhaps the most remarkable thing about Rovar is his precarious singularity. He is the last of the Pfliegmans and, by his own account, he is falling apart. Although he halfheartedly seeks treatment for his various ailments, he seems far more bent on fulfilling the destiny of self-destruction all Pfliegmans (according to Rovar) are subject to. Rovar's explanation of his family sprawls deep into the past, probing beyond his chaotic childhood all the way back to the origins of the Pfliegman clan in premedieval Hungary. Along the way, the narrative nods to all sorts of greats—Kafka, Rushdie, Darwin and Grass, to name a few. But Anthony's style—funny, immediate and unapologetically cerebral—carves out a space all its own. (July)

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