Vintage Contemporaries

The Amalgamation Polka

Publisher: Vintage
Born in 1844 in bucolic upstate New York, Liberty Fish is the son of fervent abolitionists as well as the grandson of Carolina slaveholders even more dedicated to their cause. Thus follows a childhood limned with fugitive slaves moving through hidden passageways in the house, and the inevitable distress that befalls his mother whenever letters arrive from her parents. In hopes of reconciling the familial disunion, Liberty escapes--first into the cauldron of war and then into a bedlam more disturbing still. In a vibrant display of literary achievement, Stephen Wright brings us a Civil War novel unlike any other.

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The bearded ladies were dancing in the mud. Outsized country feet that just wouldn’t keep still, strutting and reeling all along that slippery stretch of flooded road. Yellow paste clung to the hems of their gowns, flecked sunburnt arms and whiskery cheeks, collected in thick earthen coins upon the lacy ruffles...
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READING GUIDE

“Endlessly beguiling [by] an extravagantly talented novelist. . . . For Wright, America, past and present, is Wonderland, a place of marvels and horrors from which not even the fortunate escape with their heads.” —The New York Times Book Review

The introduction, discussion questions, author...
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PRAISE FOR

"Boiling with anger and calm, cruelty and compassion, horror and laugh-out-loud humor, The Amalgamation Polka perfectly captures not only the human experience but also what it means to be an American." —Fort Worth Star-Telegram"Endlessly beguiling [by] an extravagantly talented novelist. . . . For Wright, America, past and present, is Wonderland, a place of marvels and horrors from which not even the fortunate escape with their heads. " —The New York Times Book Review"Stephen Wright [is] the most important American novelist you've probably never heard of [and] The Amalgamation Polka might be the book that, deservedly, makes his as familiar a name as Don DeLillo or Thomas Pynchon." —Austin American-Statesman"Quite simply an astonishing novel, brilliantly executed and beautifully written. Stephen Wright deserves to be famous and feted for it." —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution