The Hatbox Baby by Carrie Brown

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The year is 1933, and on a sweltering summer morning, a baby is delivered in a hatbox to the Century of Progress Exposition - The World's Fair - in Chicago. The very, very tiny baby, born three months early, is brought by his desperate young father to the fair's famous incubator doctor, who exhibits live premature infants to the fair's gawking crowds. This doctor, the father hopes, will save his son. Before the summer ends and the fair closes, a remarkable cast of characters will come to have an investment in the fragile baby's life - Dr. Lep Hoffman, the doctor who cares for him; Caroline Day, the fair's beautiful fan dancer; and St. Louis Percy, the fan dancer's cousin, friend, and protector, whose stake in the baby's future becomes the most serious of them all.

In the strange world of the fair, a place of freaks and marvels, mysteries, miracles - and even murders - the notion of what is "normal" is suddenly in question. Inspired by the real life and work of an early neonatologist, Carrie Brown once again celebrates love's transforming power with a richly imagined, deeply affecting story.


About Carrie Brown

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Carrie Brown is the author of four novels and a collection of short stories. She has won many awards for her work, including a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the Barnes and Noble Discover Award, and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Her most recent novel, Confinement, won the Library of Virginia Book Award. She lives in Virginia with her husband, the novelist John Gregory Brown, and their three children. She teaches at Sweet Briar College.
Published September 8, 2000 by Algonquin Books. 368 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Her cousin, St. Louis, who serves as her go-between and protector, was himself born prematurely and takes an avid interest in the Infantorium—especially the hatbox baby, who remains unnamed and unclaimed after his anonymous father is mysteriously murdered amidst a crazed fairgrounds mob.

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Publishers Weekly

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Chicago's 1933 World's Fair boasts both scientific marvels and carny-style showmanship in Barnes and Noble Discovery Award winner Brown's entrancing third novel, the two main attractions being fan dancer Caroline Day and the world-renowned premature baby doctor, Leo Hoffman, who exhibits his pree...

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Book Reporter

Author Carrie Brown takes us to the Chicago World's Fair of 1933 to make these points and ask these questions in her third novel, THE HATBOX BABY, the title of which leads one to believe the book will be about a baby.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Hatbox Baby

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