By Mark Slouka
Vintage, Paperback, 9780375702099, 288pp.
Publication Date: July 8, 2003
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Despite the incomparable predicament of their physical condition, Chang is wrapped in ordinary grace and suffering, searching for tranquility as he travels from Siam's marketplace to Parisian salons, to London's underworld and P.T. Barnum's side show, all the while improbably connected to a man who becomes his sworn enemy. In a last attempt at a normal life, Chang and Eng retire from the sideshow and move to the American South where they marry two sisters and Chang finds short-lived peace and redemption in his love for his son Christopher. This peace, however, is overtaken as events in their adopted home country force them into a final terrifying battle with fate.
"If you can read [this] novel without being astonished and touched, then you'd better check to see if your heart is made of stone . . . simply brilliant. A book of the year." —The Dallas Morning News
"Slouka writes with the bare-bones ferocity of Jerzy Kosinski and the visual intensity of John Updike." —Boston Herald
“Exceptionally beautiful. . . . [A] story where the power of language and of reflection on the nature of connection is more essential, and compelling, than any retelling of historical events.” —The Washington Post Book World