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King Perry Paperback – 27 Feb 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (27 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613723784
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613723784
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,396,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Edmond Manning (1967- ) Edmond Manning has always been fascinated by fiction: how ordinary words could be sculpted into heartfelt emotions, how heartfelt emotions could leave an imprint inside you stronger than the real world.

He finally realized that he didn't have to write like Charles Dickens or Armistead Maupin, two author heroes, and that perhaps his own fiction was juuuuuuust right, because it was his true voice, so he looked around the scrappy word kingdom that he created for himself and shouted, "I'M HOME!"

He is now a writer.

In addition to fiction, Edmond enjoys writing non-fiction on his blog, When not writing, he can be found either picking raspberries in the back yard or eating panang curry in an overstuffed chair upstairs, reading comic books.

Feel free to contact him at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I have never ever, ever, ever before found myself needing to - no, WANTING to, wanting - to use the highlight and note taking functions on my kindle as I experienced this gorgeous, silly, throat clenching, honest ride.

There are people that are in our lives for a very long time and there are those that are destined to be in them for a finite period, the length of that shared life never a determining factor in their importance. I have one from more than 15 yrs ago on which I still allow my brain to wander across now and then, always smiling, if a bit wistfully, on the conversations and snacks we shared sitting atop those plastic bins, filled with cans of hairspray, cigars and toothpaste, waiting patiently to be placed on the shelves in anticipation of their new homes. They were the only witnesses to our talks of music, work, school... and more.

These two men, Vin and Perry, they are both king makers, make no mistake about that. Perry may be the intended target, but everything is shared here, everything reciprocal. As much as Vin teaches Perry, as much as Vin builds those internal connections for Perry, as much as Vin helps Perry realize he still has a fully functioning door to his heart, Perry does all of the same for Vin. Lost and Found all around.

The planning is exquisite and extensive (would Vin appreciate that word combo?) and no matter how much I tried, my own recognition would flicker to life mere moments before Vin would show us the way, preparing us for when Perry himself finally arrived at the appointed hour.

I'm finding it very difficult to refrain from spilling out some of my own favorite lines, or even words. I don't want to give too much away, I don't want to risk for anyone a lessened trip for the meals, sea life, blankets and film.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 49 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A Book Like Nothing I've Ever Read 20 July 2012
By L. Horan - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
How is one supposed to find the words to review a book in which the author has already exhausted (Vin might love the irony of that x in such a lethargic word) all the most brilliant words in the English language to tell his story? Come to think of it, Vin might like the word lethargic. Maybe he'd think it's a word that has rocked itself to sleep on the letter c. But I digress...

You just take a deep breath and hope to do your best, I suppose.

King Perry is, simply put, a spectacle of storytelling. It is a forty-hour-long journey narrated by a man the likes of which I've never encountered in all my years of reading. Vin Vanbly says, at one point, "Found Kings love paradox. Lost Kings love irony, the shadow of paradox." If that's true, then Vin is both the Lost and the Found, and though he calls himself the Human Ghost, if I were to try to find a way to describe him, I'd say he is the King of kings because he is the Storyteller King, and he who holds the power of words, sits upon the throne that rules the world.

Honestly, I just want to pour all the words out of this book and into my brain so I can keep reading it over and over again in my memory. I want to stand in the middle of its pages and shake it like a snowglobe until all the words skitter around me in an exhilarating (x!) swirl of luminosity. I want to bathe in these words until I exude exuberance (x, x!) in such vigorous doses that people can smell the ink seeping from my pores. That's how much I loved this book. (Vin would probably be a little miffed at me right now for getting the word vigorous stuck on a continuous loop in his brain. For that, I'd apologize, but he's right. It's a wondrous word.)

Imagine if we all, Kings and Queens alike, were born into a Neverland where we become the tourists on the journey of life. We, the potential Peter Pans, incorporate all of life's experiences in different ways, some of us holding on to the miracle and wonder of a mish-mashed childlike grownup innocence, while others of us have forgotten, or rather, lost the ability to remember what it once meant to feel warm, safe, oblivious to all the aches and disappointments life has to offer--the Lost ones. Now, imagine Vin Vanbly is the navigation system and the mechanic, the man who uses the cardinal points on the metaphysical compass of being to redirect the lives of those who need rescuing from the break-down lane of life's highway. He is the tour guide and the technician who helps the Lost find their inner Kings and Queens again, and he does so by making himself the magnetic North toward which his Lost ones gravitate, even when they sometimes fight against the pull he has on them.

This is Vin Vanbly--the man whose own innocence was stolen from him as a child, but who loves so deeply and lives so passionately that he can't bear to witness a fellow human being wandering aimlessly on his own journey. Vin is the alchemist and his love and his words are the quicksilver he uses to transmute the base metal of a Lost King into the Golden Found. His methods are more than a little unorthodox (how's that one, Vin? Unorthodox?), and it's difficult to predict where he's going from one moment to the next, but the end result is all that matters, and the end result for Perry Mangin is that in a world that honors sameness, he dared to be different when it mattered.

There is a recurring theme in Perry's life before he meets Vin: "I always said I would, though." Perry lives in a world of could've/would've/should've/haven't, so Vin guides him through a series of adventures that will end with, no matter how outrageous and impossible to believe, the been-there-done-that marvel of flicking an emotional spinner and watching the needle land somewhere between crippling fear and liberating joy (hey, Vin, maybe that's the definition of vigor), which results in Vin honoring Perry with the gift of healing his inner child and giving rise to his King.

Imagine standing in front of a painting and staring at it for hours, studying it, admiring it, absorbing it to the point that it imprints upon you so completely that when you close your eyes, it's all you see on the backs of your eyelids. That's kind of the way this book resonated with me, but I also get the feeling this is the way Vin has imprinted upon Perry, and vice versa. When they each close their eyes at night, they will see the other as shape and form and substance but also as color and sparkles and light and feelings and scent and the sounds of the love that evolved over their forty hours together, as Perry is destroyed and rebuilt into, not a new Perry, but certainly an improved Perry. Oscar Wilde once said that "every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter." Maybe the Forgiver King and the Human Ghost are reflections of the personal brushstrokes Edmond Manning used to give these men substance.

King Perry is not a romance yet it is exceedingly romantic. There is not a traditional happy ending yet it ends happily. It's part of Dreamspinner Press's Bittersweet Dreams collection, yet I found it to be far less bitter than sweet. And finally, it is a journey of self-discovery and the pursuit of forgiveness of the Fates that cheated a boy of his father and made him afraid to open his heart.

I don't want to diminish the brilliance behind this book, but Edmond Manning makes this storytelling business look effortless. There are words that thread together to tell a passable story; then there are words that layer, one on top of the other, like the bricks of a fairy tale castle with secret passageways and peaked turrets and even dungeons where dragons lurk in the shadows. Each and every sentence of this story builds upon the next to create an extraordinary and magical adventure. It is subtle yet overt, textured with humor and passion and compassion and eroticism. It is seductive and enchanting and I was completely charmed by the writing, the characters, and the story this author told so impeccably.

If you said to me, "Wow, you really loved this book," there's only one reply I could give, to quote Vin Vanbly:

"You're probably right."
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Healed by a Madman 28 Feb. 2012
By C Green - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this story. It had just the right amount of keeping the reader and main character off balance, intrigued, pissed off and smitten. The author's ability to create a magical feeling in a wonderfully detailed real life setting is incredible.

Perry, an investment banker in 1999 San Fransisco is wooed and goes on a practically shamanic weekend journey with Vin, a mysterious madman with all the best intentions. You are not quite sure if Vin will make or break Perry. Can he do the delicate balance of breaking down Perry's walls, rattling him out of his self built cage, and building him back up again or will he just break him and leave him in ruins. Vin isn't quite sure himself if he can pull it off. And Perry doesn't even know what he has signed up for.

The slow building of trust and freedom is very very sweet. This book will expand your heart and make you remember the magic of love. It shows how rich being a man can be with compassion, forgiveness, grief, love and outrageous play. What it really takes to be a to be a father, lover, son. Love IS a risk but there is not that much life in safe cage.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
"a deliciously inventive allegory..." 28 Feb. 2012
By Tony - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Edmond Manning's field of ancestral kings - the backdrop to King Perry, is a deliciously inventive allegory of both the sadly fallen and joyfully redemptive nature not just of "humanity," but of each one of us.

This story offers up something rarely seen - the powerful use of sex not just as a physical act, or, in the hands of a masterful manipulator, as a way to debase and destroy (yes, we all know those films), but instead as a way for his characters to enter through the door of their own fragile and vulnerable souls. It's the sexual equivalent of Babette's Feast, or Ratatouille.

Edmond's writing style runs from simple and joyful - even goofy at times - to exquisitely lush. The characters are finely drawn and I have a great empathy for both Vin and Perry. His attention to detail brings you entirely into their world and the pacing will take you through what starts as a frothy adventure, to what becomes a journey of the soul - fearful, exhilarating, heartbreaking. You will travel along with the characters - to the edge.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Original. Beautiful. Perfect. 8 Jun. 2013
By Dawn M - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is not the type of book that I'd typically read. Or EVER read. But I came across, in a convoluted way, something that Edmond Manning had written -- about the best sandwich in NYC -- and I loved his style. The story was funny and warm-hearted at the same time ("I laughed, I cried") and the way he wrote it was... there's no other word for it: yummy. And I'm not talking about the sandwich. It's all about the way that he writes. Yummy.

Anyway, in my Googling of him to see if he'd written anything else aside from the sandwich story and other blog posts, I stumble upon, LO AND BEHOLD!, a book. A BOOK! Awesome. So I read the Amazon synopsis and... it's not for me. It's about two gay men (I can't relate; I'm a straight woman and, although I have gay friends, I can't connect to this story) and it sounds like it has elements (or more than just elements) of fantasy. Kings? What? I don't "do" fantasy. Nope. I read a lot of memoirs. I read novels that are stories that could actually happen in real life. So, in a nutshell, I feel a huge disconnect with this book just from the description of it. But... there's the sandwich story. I love his writing. I want more. So, I get the book. I get the book, but I don't know when I'll start reading it -- I don't feel rushed. I don't feel the rush.

But, while having a bite for lunch the next day, I start reading the first chapter. And... I feel the rush. A big, big, BIG rush. The writing. The characters. The story. I'm in. I'm into it. I'm there.

I read the book over the course of three days. I could have finished it in much less time but I savored it. I savored each and every word. I went back and read some sentences a few times because they were so good, such gems. And just as "I laughed, I cried" when reading the "sammich" story, I laughed (a lot! I love you, Vin!) and cried... and sobbed through the last 10 pages. It's that good a story. It's that beautiful a story.

Many books have sexual detail in them. It's usually gratuitous and poorly written, so I skip it entirely. But, DAMN!, the sexual detail in King Perry... WHOA! There's a lot of it and it's very explicit, but it's not at all gratuitous -- it's 100% NECESSARY to the story -- and, oh Jesus, it's erotic as hell. I'm a straight woman but... DAMN! (I learned stuff... hahaha!)

Is it an odd story? Yup. It sure is.
Is it a fabulous story? Oh, absolutely! It definitely is.

I read a lot of books. Some are bad and I bail on them, some are good, some are very good. There have also been a few that I thought were exquisite (there's a word with an "x" in it for you, Vin) and beautiful and perfect -- this book is one of those.

I could say more but.. "not in front of the duck." :)
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Powerful Debut Novel 4 Mar. 2012
By Lloyd Meeker - Published on
Format: Paperback
I love journey stories, and fancy myself something of a connoisseur. This one is superb. It's a tumbling, whimsical, mystical, purposeful, challenging, tender, erotic and wise story, set in a kaleidoscopic three days in San Francisco. I don't want to address the plot, because it would be too easy to steal some of the joy of discovery you might feel as you read it. And you should read it.

The story is a quest, a journey into the labyrinth of memory, broken hearts, abuse, longing, hope, and desire to seek the prize of self-awareness and power that waits at its center. Only a desperately wounded heart can be coaxed - or tricked - into this journey, on the fragile hope of experiencing healing and liberation. For many it is too daunting a journey, with too much at risk if it ends in failure.

King Perry is beautifully wrought, the characterization is deft, the dialogue hypnotic. I envy Manning his sense of humor - creating intimacy between the protagonists at one point, and separation the next. The narrator, Vin, is guide, part magical helper, part wise one, part royal pain in the ass.

But even an expert guide cannot steer his protege through this psychic maze without being himself vulnerable to transformation, as if the work resonates through all who engage it, veteran guide or raw initiate. I think the story will have a similar effect on thoughtful readers.

Read the book and see for yourself.
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