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The Swansong of Wilbur McCrum

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  28 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Wilbur McCrum is not a lucky man. Actually, he's not lucky, period -- a fact that becomes obvious from the moment he first emerges, screaming, into the world -- for Wilbur's birth coincides with his sister's death. And as Wilbur (prone to fits and with a pathological fear of cows) grows, he subsequently loses his father, and is then in turn lost -- abandoned -- by his ...more
Hardcover, 357 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by Picador USA (first published June 5th 2009)
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Kirsten Fleetwood
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why isn't this book more popular? Why has it got so few reviews? It's a real wee gem of a book!
This is the life story of one Wilbur McCrum, born somewhere in the mid West to pioneers, in fact he was born in a covered wagon at the very moment his 3 year old sister fell to her death under its wheels. Yes, life is a mixed bag of terrible luck and crazy coincidences for Wilbur.
Wilbur tells his extraordinary tale in a voice that's engaging and occasionally comic, it's short on details but big on
Mar 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I didn't love it and I doubt I'll read it again, but it was a very enjoyable, entertaining read. It's very quirky and odd, a sort of 'tall-tale' kind of book. There are lots of coincidences and encounters with famous people from history, and in any other kind of story you might find it all too far-fetched, but with this kind of story it fits. It's about a man named Wilbur McCrum and how he more or less stumbles through life, becomes an outlaw almost by accident, ...more
Maya Panika
Jun 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Innocent and delightful - The road book of a life. Quirky, unexpected, surprisingly readable, unpretentious, a good story well told. Wilbur tells the story of his strange, eventful life in a series of short tales. Twists and turns abound; every time you think Wilbur has finally found his niche, along comes another bizarre event, another odd character to send his life spinning off in the most unanticipated directions.

My only complaint that it seemed terribly rushed at the end; Cal’s death
Nov 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was effortlessly witty, beautifully written (and skilfully plotted - picaresque isn't as easy as it might look), often moving, pitch-perfect in tone and a genuine appropriation of a world and style rather than, what might have been expected, a parody of it. If Kita didn't live in the wild west - and, judging from her biography, she didn't - some earlier incarnation certainly did. All in all, a great read and the kind of book that could easily attract a cult following, and ...more
Sarah Haman
Mar 28, 2012 rated it liked it
An interesting story about a boy/man who grows up in the West. He loses both parents. He also suffers from "fits". These fits create and interesting way of life and help him deal with acceptance and more :) They also wind him up in some strange circumstances.

This story also gives a good look at the way life may have been in the "wild" west.
Andy Theyers
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was recommended this by someone who saw similarities with The Sisters Brothers. Honestly I think that similarity is very superficial, but I'm glad of the recommendation nonetheless :) I don't often find funny books very funny, but this had me chuckling at regular intervals; Wilbur's turns of phrase are quite beautiful in places. A book full of joyful coincidences and appalling luck.
Dec 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Old West tall tale with a clever narrator. I love the first page, where the narrator begins telling his life story as scenes flash before his eyes as he sinks to his death in a well.
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Refreshing, not a copycat theme, three night read
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