The Miracle Life Of Edgar Mint Paperback – 4 Jul 2002
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Debut novelist Brady Udall's The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint is a moving tragic-comedy that has been compared to the works of John Irving. The tender humour of this novel, coupled with subtly explored issues, makes this an outstanding read. Udall's prose style is engaging and refreshing, and the voice of the narrator is utterly convincing. When eight-year-old Edgar Mint gets his head squashed by a post van on the Apache reservation where he lives with his alcoholic mother, it is the beginning of a new life. Resurrected from near death by a junior doctor, Edgar find himself in a new environment, sharing a ward with three men in various states of serious injury, the focus of the hospital's attention and with no recollection of his previous life. So begins Edgar's journey.
This is essentially a rites of passage novel. But the passage that Edgar must take is more painful than most. With no memory and with only a typewriter for company, he faces alienation among his people, is disregarded as retarded and is shoved out of sight by white America to a tough school for troublesome reservation children. Edgar seeks the solace of acceptance or escape, anything to take him away from the suffering of being different, of being an outsider. By showing Edgar learning about himself, understanding the world around him, and experiencing everything again for the first time, Udall explores the big explosive themes of religion, race, identity and gender with a deft hand. There is nothing ham-fisted in his treatment of these issues. They are dealt with in a quiet but direct manner, through the eyes of a child coming to terms with the absurdity of humanity. This is, in some ways, also a rags-to-riches story and the notion of what exactly it is that enriches our lives is central. Edgar must first journey before he ultimately discovers this wealth. His journey is a search for identity, for the missing gaps in his life and it is only when all these gaps are filled that Edgar can discover his true worth. --Iain Robinson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Original and sympathetic... Like John Iriving he draws credible, emotionally engaging characters, who find themselves afflicted by the oddest and most unexpected of mishaps... One of those rare novels that is so touching and so odd, you couldn't make it up" (The Times)
"One of the most enjoyable reads of the year" (Time Out)
"Peopled with beautifully-drawn characters and full of colour, drama and pathos, this is a superb first novel" (Scotland on Sunday)
"If this was a film it would be made by the Coen brothers. Quirky, charming and very funny" (Mirror)
"Very accomplished... Edgar is a brilliant creation" (The Bookseller)
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Top customer reviews
All the characters are brilliant and very believable. I think I've met with all the old men at the hospital in the book! You immediately feel for Edgar and get really drawn into all that he goes through, hilarious in some parts (especially when he gets his first "encounter" with a female!) and very touching in others. I thoroughly recommend this book!
The best example of innocent Edgar's appeal is when he is about to be baptised by the Mormons and is asked if he has ever indulged in self abuse. He replies, 'I hit myself over the head with a brick once.' Anyway, read it!
As the blurb says, the book follows Edgar's journey to find the mailman who ran over his head so that he can reassure him that he's still alive. Along the way the wonderful cast of bullies, cranks and oddballs he comes into contact with makes it laugh-out-loud funny at times, and the cynical, slightly detached tone of Edgar's narration (sometimes slipping into the third person to tell his own story) stops it becoming schmaltzy That said, the ending is very touching as you're really gunning for our hero after everything he's been through and throughout the whole book there's a real sense of hope triumphing over adversity.
Interesting fact about Brady Udall - he grew up as part of a large Mormon family so presumably drew on some of his own experiences when researching parts of the book. Edgar Mint was published in 2001 and I can't find any trace of him releasing anything since then, more's the pity. In one interview he mentions working on a book about a Mormon polygamist with four wives and 28 children, and I really hope I get to read it one day.
Edgar tells his own story as written over the years on the trusty old typewriter given him by a Ray, a fellow hospital patient - one of the results of his accident is that he cannot get his hands to write. He takes us through the eight or nine years since his accident: his time happy time in hospital, the horrendous years in school where he suffers constant bullying and some pretty disgusting indignities, better times with the Mormon family, and then the end of this search for the mailman and 'home'; finally he proves a brief account of his life since finding 'home'.
Edgar is an incredible character, not just as the miracle child who seems to survive any number of strange or life threatening disasters, but he his thoroughly appealing, one can forgive whatever he does (and he does some pretty worse than naughty things!), yet he remains an innocent and is basically a good kid. Along the way he meets some colourful characters; including Barry his life saving doctor who pursues him throughout, and Ray who proves to be a true guardian even in his absence. Little Cecil, equally bullied and whom he befriends at school, and the two very different children of the Mormon family are among the better children he meets.
The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint is an most endearing story, by turns funny and moving, but always beautifully related. Edgar Mint will surely prove one of the most memorable and likeable of fictional characters.
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Most recent customer reviews
Fab book. If you like an underdog who is determined to achieve his goals then this book is a must. Loved this story and the main character, Edgar.