Friday, November 13, 2009

Top 60 Novels of 2000-2009 Countdown: No. 48

I'm a sucker for backstage novels, as you will see from this list, once it's finished. I already talked about Lives of the Circus Animals, and I'm now on "Niagara Falls," which falls between McCracken's more famous "The Giant's House" and her recent memoir. This book follows a "straight man" from his humble beginnings in the Midwest to fame as the Abbott-half of an Abbott-and-Costello-like vaudeville act. He's paired with a genuine monster, who's a little like Lou Costello but is a lot more brilliant (and self-destructive). McCracken does a good job suggesting the milieu of vaudeville and Hollywood, and the two main characters, basically sad clowns, are memorable.

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