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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
In the 1920s, Morecambe Bay, a small English coastal town, was renowned, at least locally, for the purity and restorative powers of its air, taken regularly as a curative by the tourists who filled its hotels and restaurants. Young Cyril Parks resides there with his mother, a widow whose seaside resort becomes a haven for consumptives -- mostly men who've spent a lifetime in the mines and who now seek only a few moments of fresh air and relaxation.
From this landscape, The Electric Michelangelo, a finalist for the Booker Prize, tells the story of Cy, starting with his bleak childhood and his apprenticeship with a local tattoo artist whose capacity for drunken rages is matched only by his gift with the needle. Newly skilled, Cy departs for America and sets up shop on the Coney Island boardwalk, where he meets the enigmatic Grace, a circus performer who offers Cy his most bizarre commission yet. What transpires between them as Cy slowly transforms her entire body into a living work of art is a little like love, and new to a man who has always found contentment in solitude.
A magical pastiche of eccentric characters and colorful times, The Electric Michelangelo seduces with its detail and atmosphere. In her American debut, Hall has created a world as mesmerizing and it is unforgettable. (Holiday 2005 Selection)