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Millroy the magician (1993)
by Paul Theroux
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449911977, Paperback)Fourteen-year-old Jilly Farina was enthralled with Millroy the Magician at the Barnstable County Fair. After all, he once turned a girl from the audience into a glass of milk and drank her, But when Jilly stepped into the wickerwork coffin during a performance, she had no idea he would transform her dreary life into something truly magical, and a touch bizarre.
For Millroy was no ordinary magician. He could smell the future, and Jilly was going to be part of it. Yet not even Millroy could foresee how far determination and a dream could take him, as he and his new young assistant hit the road -and the airwaves -- to save America's unhealthy appetite and floundering soul....
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 14 Feb 2013 13:46:43 -0500)
Jilly Farina is fourteen, but so small that she wears younger kids' clothes. Her father is drunk on the day of the Barnstable County Fair, so she goes by herself, and by that night her life has been transformed. When she walks into a tent to see Millroy the Magician, his eyes lighten from brown to green and fasten upon her. He performs miracles in front of Jilly's spellbound eyes and tells her he wants to eat her. He spirits her into his trailer, and for the first time in her forlorn young life, Jilly feels safe. He tells her that he has command over nine bodily functions, that he will train her to be his assistant, and that he will give her a sequined costume. But this is only the beginning. Millroy is a man like no other, a magician not simply of mere conjuring, but of true, baffling magic. He is a healer, too, a vegetarian and health fanatic with a mission to change the eating habits of his beloved United States. In search of the perfect platform, he finds it in television as an evangelical preacher, touting hygiene and the simple pure foods mentioned in the Bible. From fairground magician to cult leader, Millroy is unstoppable. In his portrait of a man who is part genius, part eccentric, and part miracle worker, and of his complete and uneasy relationship with young Jilly, Paul Theroux has created a remarkable parable of America today. A work of breathtaking imagination and resonance, Millroy the Magician displays the author at the height of his fictional powers, and in Jilly and Millroy he has created two truly unforgettable characters.
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