Jonah Man

Christopher Narozny, Author
Christopher Narozny. Ig (Consortium, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (204p) ISBN 978-1-935439-48-6
Ebook - 200 pages - 978-1-935439-51-6
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The title of this distinctive first novel is an expression that refers to a performer who, despite great effort, reaches the inevitable dwindling down of his career. The good news is Narozny’s fascinating glimpse into vaudeville in 1920s America does anything but stagnate. Told from the perspectives of a one-handed juggler whose prospects have gone south, a teenage boy with a talent for stealing the show, his wheeler-dealer dad who boozes and canoodles, and a police inspector with close tabs on them all, the narrative traces the gritty life on the show circuit, one schmaltzy act after another. But beneath all the fake glitz and glamour, there’s another story to tell: both the juggler and the drunk are addicted to an incandescent silver-blue substance, selling it to susceptible patrons on the side and skimming off their stash. All the characters are three-dimensional, each with a hidden soft spot that others unfortunately find opportunities to exploit. When the boy’s drunk dad is found murdered with a prostitute, her “wig crumpled blonde and bloody beside them,” and the cop investigates, there’s motive around every corner. A classic whodunit ripe with spare, snappy prose and riddled with period language, this is one show-stopper that deserves a standing ovation. Agent: Peter McGuigan, Foundry Literary + Media. (May)
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