Clifford Chase, Author . Grove $17.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1830-1

This debut novel from memoirist Chase (The Hurry-up Song ) begins with the capture and wounding by a SWAT team of the eponymous, sentient teddy bear in a backwoods cabin; the team thinks it has captured a mad bomber. In jail, Winkie, who no one denies is a teddy bear, must contend with cruel jailers; his stuttering, court-appointed lawyer named Unwin; the 9,678 counts of everything from treason to witchcraft he's charged with; and the intersection of his life with that of the previous possessor of the cabin, an old humanities professor whose bombs never worked. While marking time, Winkie contemplates his past: his ownership by the Chase family, his loneliness when on a shelf , his magical awakening to life one morning—marked by a bowel movement so lovingly described that it recalls Bloom's in Ulysses . The sections devoted to Winkie's trial is a minor masterpiece of ridiculousness, in which the prosecution's move to end the trial after it has presented its side sounds uncomfortably close to what we read in the newspapers. This book is way too odd to be sentimental, and its political sensibility shuttles easily between the cartoonish and the shrewd. Chase puts himself in the same league as David Sedaris with this unclassifiable debut. (July)

Reviewed on: 03/06/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-8021-4310-5
Hardcover - 240 pages - 978-0-340-92454-9
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-55584-623-7
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