The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson
A Novel

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Synopsis

Water for Elephants meets Geek Love in this riveting first novel, an enchanting love story set in P. T. Barnum's American Museum in 1865 New York City


Bartholomew Fortuno, the World's Thinnest Man, believes that his unusual body is a gift. Hired by none other than P. T. Barnum to work at his spectacular American Museum--a modern marvel of macabre displays, breathtaking theatrical performances, and live shows by Barnum's cast of freaks and oddities--Fortuno has reached the pinnacle of his career. But after a decade of constant work, he finds his sense of self, and his contentment within the walls of the museum, flagging. When a carriage pulls up outside the museum in the dead of night, bearing Barnum and a mysterious veiled woman--rumored to be a new performer--Fortuno's curiosity is piqued. And when Barnum asks Fortuno to follow her and report back on her whereabouts, his world is turned upside down. Why is Barnum so obsessed with this woman? Who is she, really? And why has she taken such a hold on the hearts of those around her?


Set in the New York of 1865, a time when carriages rattled down cobblestone streets, raucous bordellos near the docks thrived, and the country was mourning the death of President Lincoln, The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno is a moving novel about human appetites and longings. With pitch-perfect prose, Ellen Bryson explores what it means to be profoundly unique--and how the power of love can transcend even the greatest divisions.

 

About Ellen Bryson

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ELLEN BRYSON holds a BA in English from Columbia University and an MA in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. Formerly a modern dancer, she lives in Southern California. This is her first novel.
 
Published June 15, 2010 by Henry Holt and Co.. 346 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno

Kirkus Reviews

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A man living among the oddest specimens of humanity questions his inner desires.

Jan 05 2011 | Read Full Review of The Transformation of Barthol...

The New York Times

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In this first novel, a mysterious seductress who signs on as an attraction at P. T. Barnum’s museum enchants the resident thin man.

Jul 30 2010 | Read Full Review of The Transformation of Barthol...

Publishers Weekly

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Inspired by a vintage circus photograph, Bryson’s first novel tells the fictional story of the unusual relationship between two human curiosities from P.T. Barnum’s American Museum. Bar

Apr 12 2010 | Read Full Review of The Transformation of Barthol...

New York Journal of Books

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The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno is an adult historical fiction novel that challenges our definitions of what is normal and what we think is true about ourselves.

Jun 22 2010 | Read Full Review of The Transformation of Barthol...

The American Book Center Blog

The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson is by no means a cheerful story.

Mar 03 2011 | Read Full Review of The Transformation of Barthol...

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