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The Man Who Was Not With It
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The Man Who Was Not With It

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  16 ratings  ·  4 reviews
The Man Who Was Not With It is the story of young Bud Williams and his safari southward to Florida. On the way, he is abruptly confronted with the con men, addicts, and freaks, and the bruised innocence, of carnival and nightclub life. ...more
Paperback, 314 pages
Published October 1st 1987 by Algonquin Books (first published 1956)
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The edition I actually read was a the first paperback published by Permabooks (an imprint of Pocket Books) in 1957, and was retitled "The Wild Ones". I didn't see this edition as an option to select here on Goodreads. The copy I have was originally my father's. The author was associated with some of the Beat writers in the mid-20th Century. The plot revolves around a character named Bud Williams who left home and college in the early/mid-1950's to join a traveling carnival. As the story evolves, ...more
I picked up this book because author Ricky Jay referenced it. I marginally enjoyed the first half but I did not finish it. The protagonists character knows the life of the carnival barker and his stilted narrative is occasionally enjoyable.
I think this would be much better as an audio book recited in a barkers slow exaggerated tone with sound effects. Overall, it's a sad story of of a young man drifting across places and short term jobs not really knowing what he's searching for.
Tedious, tedious stuff. I disliked the 1st 100 pages and was set to put it down, but the middle third was really great. Unfortunately, the last act was even worse than the first. Every time I read about someone's nose wart or pulling down or touching their eyelid, I'll think of this misfire of a novel.
Good tale of a young carne finding his path in life. I have enjoyed carnivals and fairs considerably more since reading it. Written with a tone that reminds me of Knut Hamsun at times...a little insane but lovable.
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