The Swallowed Man: A Novel (Hardcover)
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“Profound and delightful. . . . A strange and tender parable of two maddening obsessions; parenting and art-making.” —Max Porter, author of Grief Is the Thing with Feathers and Lanny
The ingenious storyteller Edward Carey returns to reimagine a time-honored fable: the story of an impatient father, a rebellious son, and a watery path to forgiveness for the young man known as Pinocchio
In the small Tuscan town of Collodi, a lonely woodcarver longs for the companionship of a son. One day, “as if the wood commanded me,” Giuseppe—better known as Geppetto—carves for himself a pinewood boy, a marionette he hopes to take on tour worldwide. But when his handsome new creation comes magically to life, Geppetto screams . . . and the boy, Pinocchio, leaps from his arms and escapes into the night. Though he returns the next day, the wily boy torments his father, challenging his authority and making up stories—whereupon his nose, the very nose his father carved, grows before his eyes like an antler. When the boy disappears after one last fight, the father follows a rumor to the coast and out into the sea, where he is swallowed by a great fish—and consumed by guilt. He hunkers in the creature’s belly awaiting the day when he will reconcile with the son he drove away.
With all the charm, atmosphere, and emotional depth for which Edward Carey is known—and featuring his trademark fantastical illustrations—The Swallowed Man is a parable of parenthood, loss, and letting go, from a creative mind on a par with Gregory Maguire, Neil Gaiman, and Tim Burton.
About the Author
Edward Carey is a novelist, visual artist, and playwright. His previous novels include Little, Alva & Irva, and Observatory Mansions, and an acclaimed series for young adults, the Iremonger Trilogy. His writing for the stage includes an adaptation of Robert Coover’s Pinocchio in Venice, a continuation of the Pinocchio story. Born in England, he now teaches at the University of Texas in Austin, where he lives with his wife, the author Elizabeth McCracken, and their family.
Advance Praise for The Swallowed Man:
“Following up on the triumph of his historical novel Little, Carey proves once again how there is a magic in that archetypal familiarity of the perennial fairy tale.” — The Millions
“Geppeto, carver of naughty Pinocchio, keeps a haunting journal of his years inside the whale. Bizarre [and] moving.” —Margaret Atwood
“No Disney fairy tale, this is an illustrated, literary, poignantly erudite study in anguish, guilt, madness, soul-searching, and eventual redemption.” —Booklist
“Art objects live in the belly of this marvelous novel, images swallowed by text, sustained by a sublime and loving imagination. Like all Edward Carey's work The Swallowed Man is profound and delightful. It is a strange and tender parable of two maddening obsessions; parenting and art-making.” —Max Porter, author of Grief Is the Thing with Feathers and Lanny
“A deep and grimly whimsical exploration of what it means to be a son, a father, and an artist.” —Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Edward Carey:
“[A writer with] a dowsing rod capable of divining what hides within the human heart. Carey is without peer.” —Kelly Link
“Edward Carey writes wonderfully weird books about wonderfully weird things.” —Celeste Ng
“Nothing short of a genius.” —Daily Mail