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Love and Other Games of Chance: A Novelty by…
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Love and Other Games of Chance: A Novelty

by Lee Siegel

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670894613, Hardcover)

The fantastic and flamboyant hero of Love and Other Games of Chance is Isaac Schlossberg, circus performer, entertainer, and world traveler. The son of Jewish immigrants to America at the beginning of the twentieth century, Isaac spends his formative years in California, performing with his parents in traveling sideshows and circus acts. His later travels take him to Calcutta, where he assembles a troupe of "Oriental Oddities," to Paris, working a stint at the Grand Guignol Théâtre d'horreur, and finally to Hollywood, starring as Ponce de León in a movie produced by Jewish mobsters.

Isaac organizes the tall tales of his past into one hundred chapters or squares, as on the children's game Snakes and Ladders. As he travels around the world (and up and down the game board) he moves sentimentally from the beginnings of love through many of its most painful and joyous, noble and ridiculous manifestations. The cast of characters includes sharpshooters and fortune-tellers, mentalists, magicians, mesmerists, and midgets, with cameos from Buffalo Bill, Geronimo, Hitler, Bugsy Siegel, and the Abominable Snowman. The key players in this game are small and vulnerable people, each with some grandiose fantasy and high hope of making life more wondrous.

A sumptuous entertainment in the vein of Carter Beats the Devil and Niagara Falls All Over Again, Love and Other Games of Chance is at once silly and grand, utterly absurd and yet full of meaning.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:26 -0400)

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