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Deadpan comic and grandly imaginative, The Real McCoy, Darin Strauss's recounting of the life of a legendary grifter, is a sparkling, memorable novel. Strauss (author of the highly acclaimed Chang and Eng) tells the story of Virgil Selby, or "Kid" McCoy, turn-of-the-century flimflammer, welterweight champion, and the speculative origin of the famous titular catch phrase. A ...more
Paperback, 326 pages
Published May 13th 2003 by Penguin Group (USA)
(first published 2002)
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A small town guy reinvents himself with the help of a Chinese flim-flam man who becomes his mentor. ...This is an episodic and picaresque novel with large ambitions and great characters. It is reminiscent of both the work of E.L. Doctorow and Thomas Berger (Little Big Man). The narrative sometimes gets a little sprawling, but we are always engaged in Virgil’s struggle to reinvent himself. The material could be a real “actor’s piece,” and there’s enough going on with the plot to keep an audience ...more
I enjoyed it. It ended the way it should have ended and not the way I necessarily wanted it to. Strauss's use of language was really playful and fun at times-- i.e. "Who would she be, the duck or the elephant?" [sic:] Overall I enjoyed it and would read another of Strauss's books if given the chance.
A recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and a winner of the American Library Association's Alix Award and The National Book Critics Circle Award, the internationally-bestselling writer Darin Strauss is the author of the novels Chang & Eng, The Real McCoy, and More Than It Hurts You, and the NBCC-winning memoir Half a Life. These have been New York Times Notable Books, Newsweek, Los Angeles Ti ...moreMore about Darin Strauss...