The Convalescent

The Convalescent

4.6 8
by Jessica Anthony
     
 

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The Convalescent is the story of a small, bearded man selling meat out of a bus parked next to a stream in suburban Virginia . . . and also, somehow, the story of ten thousand years of Hungarian history. Jessica Anthony, the inaugural winner of the Amanda Davis Highwire Fiction Award, makes an unforgettable debut with an unforgettable hero: Rovar

Overview

The Convalescent is the story of a small, bearded man selling meat out of a bus parked next to a stream in suburban Virginia . . . and also, somehow, the story of ten thousand years of Hungarian history. Jessica Anthony, the inaugural winner of the Amanda Davis Highwire Fiction Award, makes an unforgettable debut with an unforgettable hero: Rovar Ákos Pfliegman—unlikely bandit, unloved lover, and historian of the unimportant.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Mexico, June 15, 1985. A child, orphaned in an earthquake, tells hospital workers her name is Mariposa, Spanish for "butterfly." Simultaneously, astronomers in Paris witness the birth of a star whose shape inspires them to name it Papillon, French for "butterfly." A woman opens a magazine and a brown butterfly flies out of its pages. And on this same day, the parents of 12-year-old Rovar Pfliegman drive into a telephone pole and are killed instantly.

Now 34, Rovar, mute since birth, has no relatives, no friends, and no formal education. He lives in Virginia and sells meat out of a bus: Pfliegman's Traveling Meat Bus. A self-made man, "the last remaining descendant in a line of the worst sort of losers on the planet," his is the legacy of generations of outcasts short-changed in every imaginable way -- except, that is, for Dr. Monica who tends to Rovar's panoply of ailments. Though Rovar believes his ill health is endemic to his birthright, unbeknownst to Rovar and Dr.Monica, he is midway through an extraordinary process, a metamorphosis that will finally set things right for the first time in his life. Equal parts ridiculous and sublime, The Convalescent is a singular and intelligent first novel by a marvelously gifted new writer. Rovar is a virtuosic creation, and an unforgettable reminder that we are not always what we seem. (Fall 2009 Selection)
Publishers Weekly

Anthony's compulsively readable debut novel stars Rovar Pfliegman, who sells meat out of a bus in Virginia. Rovar is a peculiar, troll-like man: he is short and hairy, has not spoken since childhood, keeps a pet beetle and lives in the same broken-down bus that houses his meat business. But perhaps the most remarkable thing about Rovar is his precarious singularity. He is the last of the Pfliegmans and, by his own account, he is falling apart. Although he halfheartedly seeks treatment for his various ailments, he seems far more bent on fulfilling the destiny of self-destruction all Pfliegmans (according to Rovar) are subject to. Rovar's explanation of his family sprawls deep into the past, probing beyond his chaotic childhood all the way back to the origins of the Pfliegman clan in premedieval Hungary. Along the way, the narrative nods to all sorts of greats-Kafka, Rushdie, Darwin and Grass, to name a few. But Anthony's style-funny, immediate and unapologetically cerebral-carves out a space all its own. (July)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781934781104
Publisher:
McSweeney's Publishing
Publication date:
06/01/2009
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

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The Convalescent 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
chicken1999 More than 1 year ago
If you love rich detailed stories with quirky characters both repulsive and endearing, read this book. A good read for John Irving fans and the like.
Marchantia_polymorpha More than 1 year ago
Remarkable - best summer read yet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Merrell_M More than 1 year ago
About two months prior, I had picked up a copy of the Sons, and finally got around to reading the Metamorphosis. After coming into a little cash recently, I decided to add some more fiction to my personal library. I quickly found nine books that I had been meaning to read. Hoping to make it an even ten, I went to the new books section. I have chosen a book by its cover on several occasions. Initially, this was one. The art is truly wonderful on the cover. Reading into it a little more, It seemed to tell a story in and of itself, a wretched little man, his body split open, into something disturbing and wonderful. I lived relatively near the river described in the book (dont ask me to spell it) and one time, and I did grow up in virginia. It was no real stretch of the imagination for me to conjure up the Bus where Rovar Pfliegman lived and sold his meat. In fact, overall, the jumps in imagination the book requires are few and easy. The read was enjoyable, and the storytelling good. I reccomend it, as a good read, particularly when feeling down about a situation. Overall, it is very uplifting.
MichaelEhringhaus More than 1 year ago
The Convalescent is an astonishing novel about small things, the events and people who, unnoticed, molt into the universe, right before our eyes. Jessica Anthony has given us a gift, a verdant, acutely smart, wickedly humorous novel, axenic and wise well beyond its pages. Rovar Pfliegman, the hero, loves without being loved, steals without repentance, and is, on first meeting, disgusting to all senses. However, his presence throughout the novel becomes etched into an enduring, joyful melancholy and onto the psyche we indite to protect the damaged little spiritus inhabiting each of our lives. It would be difficult for me to typecast The Convalescent. While it is not a novel for everyone, it is a novel about everyone. It draws its strength from the weakest among us, from the humid, at times fetid, Rovar and his small world flush with a dominion that become ours. In the end, there is an ecdysis, the shedding of ego, the internal diathesis, as Rovar's world, our world, emerges, sonorous and pure. Which is fine.