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The Magic Wagon

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  282 ratings  ·  22 reviews
This entertaining episodic novel is set in turn-of-the-20th-century eastern Texas, where crooked traveling medicine shows and aging gunslingers define the closing frontier.

Narrator Buster Fogg's family is wiped out by a twister in an early sequence described with surreal verve. Buster hitches on with Billy Bob Daniels, a patent-medicine pusher and trick shooter who claims...more
Paperback, 155 pages
Published 2001 by Subterranean Press (first published 1986)
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55th out of 371 books — 243 voters
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Community Reviews

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Marvin
Lansdale states this is his favorite of his novels. Just my luck that my favorite author would pick a book that has been out of print for a long time. Fortunately it is back in print and I finally got around to reading it. Is it better than The Bottoms, my favorite Lansdale novel? It's a photo finish and the judges aren't back from lunch yet.

The Magic Wagon is told through the narration of a 17 year old boy, having been abandoned and on his own, (Lansdale's favorite type of narrator) as he latch...more
Tony
THE MAGIC WAGON. (1986). Joe R. Lansdale. ***.
This is a kind of a western from the prolific Mr. Lansdale (1951- ), a native of Gladewater, a town in East Texas. It tells the story of a group of men travelling from town to town in a wagon that converted to a stage where they put on magic shows and let their pet chimpanzee, Rot Toe, take on any town wrestler who thinks he has a chance from a mere monkey. Their aim, at the end of the show, was to sell bottles of their “magic” elixir – touted to cu...more
Fabio
Western + horror...there's anything better? "YES", I hear you say, but for some reasons I like this stuff so much that couldn't put the book down for a week.
Joe Lansdale is a master storyteller, and he makes this unique mixture of black humor, action and mistery that makes every single page of his books worth reading.
I really hope someone (Quentin?) makes a movie out of this!
Matteo Pellegrini

Il XX secolo è appena iniziato: nel Texas fanno la loro comparsa i primi venditori ambulanti di rimedi miracolosi, mentre i vecchi cowboy sorvegliano le linee di frontiera e gli sceriffi mantengono l'ordine nelle piccole città, dove l'odio razziale fatica a spegnersi, nonostante la liberazione degli schiavi appartenga al passato. La famiglia del giovanissimo Buster Fogg, voce narrante di questo romanzo, viene spazzata via da un tornado insieme alla sua casa, e il ragazzo si unisce - per caso o p

...more
Randy
A weird western set in the early 1900s. THE MAGIC WAGON is one of those traveling medicine shows. Billy Bob Daniels, old Albert, a black man, Rot Toe, the wrestling chimpanzee, the body in the box, and little Buster, a seventeen year old picked up along the way and the narrator of the story.

Billy Bob was the star of the show, a trick shot artist, and the hawker of Cure-All, one of those fake medicines that cure everything, and claimed to be the illegitimate son of Wild Bill Hickok, supposely th...more
bobbygw
Set in Texas at the turn of the 20th century, `The Magic Wagon' is the tale of Buster Fogg's life as well as other eccentric characters that he encounters. By the time he's 17, his life has been pock-marked by tragedy, yet each sad event is recounted in such a way as to make them Candide-like - tragic-comic, even farcical.

It reads like a combination of an S. E. Hinton novel (`Rumblefish', `The Outsiders'), in its convincing account of a boy's youth and, throughout, a feeling that if Jorge Luis B...more
GONZA
come al solito in Texas torniamo ai tempi del vecchio west, con tanto di sparatorie e tiri al bersaglio, schiavi appena liberati e rimedi magici per ogni occasione. Il protagonista è un ragazzino che un uragano lascia solo al mondo e che si aggrega ad una comitiva un po' sgangherata composta da un pistolero imbonitore, un nero factotum, un gorilla da combattimento ed una salma con proprietà quanto meno peculiari. Magia e sparatorie mischiate al modo Lansdale, insomma un bellissimo libro che asso...more
Cheryl
It is 1909 and an unlikely group travels together, including Rot Toe, the wrestling chimpanzee. The narrator and protagonist is seventeen year old Buster Fogg, whose family was wiped out by a tornado. Also traveling with the show is Billy Bob Daniels, quick draw artist and self-proclaimed son of Wild Bill Hickok, who also sells cure-all out of the medicine show wagon. And rounding out the group is Albert, black Cavalry man who holds the show together.

There are creepy storms, shoot outs, the east...more
Chompa
I loved this novella. LOVED IT.

I finished up my last book and thought, I need a western to read. I picked up a couple of books from the stack and they were just terrible writing and put them back down then found I had picked up the kindle version of Magic Wagon. Lansdale - he's always good.

Going in, I knew it was Lansdale and it wouldn't be your normal western story and it wasn't. The characters were great, the story was great and it was just a fun time.

If you like a good western with some su...more
Tiziano
Un romanzo da quattro soldi come dice l'autore ma scritto con stile. Lansdale si cimenta con quelli che sono i libri della letteratura da poco con cui � cresciuto ma li fa diventare qualcosa di pi�. Joe ha una bravura inimitabile nel tratteggiare in poche righe e con qualche anedotto i suoi personaggi e rapire il lettore con storie a cui fa assumere ben altra dimensione.
Josh
Pure, pulpy Lansdale fun. Mix a bit of horror and Western dime novels together and you have yourself a good afternoon read. Tongue firmly in cheek the entire time, but you can't mistake that Lansdale heart which he manages to imbibe all of his characters with. Overall, good stuff.
Massimo Foglio
Deludente. Probabilmente mi aspettavo un libro pieno di azione ed umorismo come uno qualsiasi della saga di Leo e Hap, e per questo ho trovato questo libro lento, incomprensibile fino a tre quarti del racconto e poco coinvolgente. Sembra un libro un po' tirato via.
Baldurian
Torna il Lansdale più puro, meno mediato, quello che si diverte a scrivere "storie da quattro soldi" e lo trasmette benissimo. La storia è leggerina e di certo non memorabile, ma accidenti se intrattiene il lettore!
Barbara
Sara' il periodo ma anche i miei autori preferiti non mi soddisfano a pieno...Sicuramente non uno dei piu' riusciti ma Lansdale e' sempre Lansdale
Callie S.
Credo di poter esprimere un solo giudizio su questo (riuscitissimo) racconto: se non ti piace, hai qualcosa che non va.
Kurt Criscione
I want to say this is a western... or almost an anti-western... instead i'll just say its a damn good yarn.
Mark Graham
One of my favorites--a western version of HUCKLEBERRY FINN with touches from Joe Lansdale, his own self.
Corky
This is one of my favorite books. Hard to find, though. 1st Edition hardback goes for about $500
Charles
I have this one in hardback. It's a weird western.
Chris
Worth reading.
Jennifer Duncan
Jennifer Duncan marked it as to-read
Oct 19, 2014
Tim
Tim added it
Oct 16, 2014
Stacey
Stacey marked it as to-read
Oct 07, 2014
Marco
Marco added it
Sep 20, 2014
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Joe R. Lansdale is the winner of the British Fantasy Award, the American Horror Award, the Edgar Award, and six Bram Stoker Awards. He lives in Nacogdoches, Texas.
More about Joe R. Lansdale...
The Bottoms Mucho Mojo (Hap and Leonard, #2) Savage Season (Hap and Leonard, #1) The Two-Bear Mambo (Hap and Leonard, #3) Edge of Dark Water

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