St. Burl's Obituary

St. Burl's Obituary

by Daniel Akst
     
 

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In this “outrageous, superb novel”(Philadelphia Inquirer), an obese, food-obsessed obituary writer witnesses a gangland slaying, which forces him to embark on a rollicking cross-country odyssey that will alter his eating habits, his weight, and, ultimately, his identity.

Overview

In this “outrageous, superb novel”(Philadelphia Inquirer), an obese, food-obsessed obituary writer witnesses a gangland slaying, which forces him to embark on a rollicking cross-country odyssey that will alter his eating habits, his weight, and, ultimately, his identity.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW gave a starred review to this comic story of an erudite epicure on a desperate diet. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Burl Bennett is an overweight obituary writer for a New York paper who stumbles into the aftermath of a mob killing in the restaurant he co-owns with an uncle. Eventually, intimidated by threats against his life, Burl leaves New York and heads out West on a bizarre odyssey. He winds up in Salt Lake City, where his weight continues to increase, until he literally gets stuck in the door of his hotel room. Burl has various adventures as his girth expands and contracts along with his economic status, and he explores every nuance of his own identity and what it means to be fat in contemporary America. The story comes full circle when Burl, having assumed someone else's identity, returns to New York, where he finally faces the issue of who he really is. Akst (Wonder Boy: Barry Minkow-the Kid Who Swindeled Wall Street, Scribner, 1990. o.p.) offers an amusing story; he writes lovingly about food, but Burl is by turns an engaging and repulsive hero. It's hard to predict what kind of audience this quirky novel will attract. Recommended for large fiction collections.-Dean James, Houston Acad. of Medicine/Texas Med. Ctr. Lib.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780156005142
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
02/15/1997
Series:
Harvest American Writing Series
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)

What People are saying about this

Jack Miles
"Inside every fat man is thin man wildly signaling to be let out. In Daniel Akst's novel, the thin man makes his escape, but he has to die and be born again to bring it out. The story of his getaway, a comedy and a mystery at once, a four-star feast."
Bob Shacochis
"A comedy as dark and dense and rich as a Viennese torte, St. Burl's Obituary is a narrative -- and gastromic -- jergonut, author Daniel Akst should be crowned our new poet lauriet of all the delicious and soul fattening sins of excess and desire."
Frederick Barthelme
"A pecular and wonderful first novel, full of surprises and small excitements, just hte kind of thing to put the pleasure back in reading."

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