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The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno

A Novel
Bryson, Ellen (Book - 2010)
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno
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Water for Elephants meets Geek Love in this riveting first novel, an enchanting love story set in P. T. Barnum's American Museum in 1865 New York City Bartholomew Fortuno, the World's Thinnest Man, believes that his unusual body is a gift. Hired by none other than P. T. Barnum to work at his spectacular American Museum-a modern marvel of macabre displays, breathtaking theatrical performances, and live shows by Barnum's cast of freaks and oddities-Fortuno has reached the pinnacle of his career. But after a decade of constant work, he finds his sense of self, and his contentment within the walls of the museum, flagging. When a carriage pulls up outside the museum in the dead of night, bearing Barnum and a mysterious veiled woman-rumored to be a new performer-Fortuno's curiosity is piqued. And when Barnum asks Fortuno to follow her and report back on her whereabouts, his world is turned upside down. Why is Barnum so obsessed with this woman? Who is she, really? And why has she taken such a hold on the hearts of those around her?Set in the New York of 1865, a time when carriages rattled down cobblestone streets, raucous bordellos near the docks thrived, and the country was mourning the death of President Lincoln, The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno is a moving novel about human appetites and longings. With pitch-perfect prose, Ellen Bryson explores what it means to be profoundly unique-and how the power of love can transcend even the greatest divisions.
Authors: Bryson, Ellen, 1949-
Title: The transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno
a novel
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Co., 2010
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 331 p. ;,25 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Ellen Bryson
ISBN: 0805091920
9780805091922
Branch Call Number: FICTION BRYSON 2010
Subject Headings: New York (N.Y.) History 1775-1865 Fiction Barnum, P. T. (Phineas Taylor), 1810-1891 Fiction Circus performers Fiction Freak shows Fiction Curiosities and wonders Fiction Barnum's American Museum Fiction
Genre/Form: Love stories
Historical fiction
Topical Term: Circus performers
Freak shows
Curiosities and wonders
LCCN: 2009045214
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In 1865 New York City Bartholomew Fortuno, the World's Thinnest Man, believes that his unusual body is a gift. Then, he's hired by none other than P. T. Barnum to work at his spectacular American Museum-a modern marvel of macabre displays, breathtaking theatrical performances, and live shows by B... Read More »


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Sep 21, 2010
  • KarenW rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

When the thin man falls for the bearded lady in the P. T. Barnum museum, a transformation should be in order. Instead we are treated to the absurd degredation and predictable outcome that the author thought would effect the greatest shock. Is this not the same way that the living subjects in this museum were treated by the public?

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1865 Manhattan. P.T. Barnum is running a Museum of Curiosities – human curiosities. Arriving veiled, in the dead of night, is Iell, the newest acquisition for Barnum’s museum. Drama and mystery ensues as Bartholomew Fortuno, the world’s thinnest man, is put in charge of keeping Iell under wraps until she can be presented to the world.

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