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Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet: A Novel…
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Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet: A Novel (edição: 2016)

de H. P. Wood (Autor)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaConversas
9512220,118 (3.48)Nenhum(a)
"It's a rare novel that manages to combine humor, tragedy, powerful friendships, outcasts, insiders, detached satire, and deeply felt emotion all in one..."--Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of The Other Daughter A hypnotic novel in turn-of-the-century Coney Island, where an abandoned girl collides with a disgruntled ménage of circus freaks. KittyHayward and her mother are ready to experience the spectacles of Coney Island's newest attraction, the Dreamland amusement park. But when Kitty's mother vanishes from their hotel, she finds herself penniless, alone, and far from her native England. The last people she expects to help are the cast of characters at Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet, a museum of oddities. From con men to strongmen, from flea wranglers to lion tamers, Kitty's new friends quickly adopt her and vow to helpfind the missing Mrs. Hayward. But even these unusual inhabitants may not be a match for the insidious sickness that begins to spread through Coney Island...or the panic that turns Dreamland into a nightmare. With shades of Water For Elephantsand The Museum of Extraordinary Things, Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet sweeps readers into a mesmerizing world where nothing is as it seems, and where "normal" is the exception to the rule.… (mais)
Membro:romymaria
Título:Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet: A Novel
Autores:H. P. Wood (Autor)
Informação:Sourcebooks Landmark (2016), 368 pages
Coleções:Read and Own
Avaliação:****
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet de H.P. Wood

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Mostrando 1-5 de 12 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Weird. Funky. Fiction with some historical accuracy. The plague comes to Coney Island in 1904 and all hell breaks loose for the "unusuals" that live and work there. ( )
  nwieme | Mar 19, 2020 |
Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet is an engaging novel set in the early 1900’s on Coney Island, New York.

It’s 1904, and seventeen year old Kitty Hayward finds herself stranded in Coney Island when her ailing mother, and all their belongings, inexplicably disappears from the hotel room they were sharing. Friendless, homeless, and penniless, she must rely on the kindness of a stranger who introduces her to the extraordinary employees and hanger-ons of Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet.

“Theophilus P. Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet is just an ugly old building with blacked-out windows and a faded sign. Thousands of souls may visit Coney Island, but few of those souls are hearty enough to peer inside Magruder’s heavy oak door.”

The characters of Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet are extraordinarily rendered, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. Magruder’s is a rundown dime museum crowded with oddities, staffed solely by Zeph, a legless black man. Upstairs lives Timur, a reclusive inventor, and Rosalind, who has a carny act as a half woman half man in a tent on the boardwalk. In the basement of the building is an unlicensed pub which welcomes the unusual employees of the Coney Island attractions after hours. It is with this eccentric family, which also includes Rosalind’s lover Enzo, and a mute orphan boy the call P-Ray, that Kitty unexpectedly finds refuge, and help.

“That’s what we call you…normal people. You call us Unusuals, freaks, monsters… Did you never think we’d have our own name for you? Dozens. As in, dime a.”

Wood takes a little liberty with some of the historical elements in this novel, but the story is richer for it. Coney Island becomes the epicentre of an outbreak of plague (inspired by a similar event which actually occurred on the country’s west coast) threatening both ‘freaks’ and ‘dozens’ alike. It is this tragedy that drives much of action, as the wealthy owners Coney Island’s businesses attempt to hide the virulent disease they call the ‘Calcutta Cough’ in order to protect their profits, and their employees are left to fend for themselves as the dead pile up around them.

“We must keep those hotels filled, miss! Keep those dancehalls crowded, keep that Shoot the Chute flying down the track. And if you develop a slight cough, if your complexion goes a bit lumpy? The men in masks will scoop you up and take you away...”

Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet is a thoughtful exploration of oppression, corruption, belonging, and compassion. Often delightful and charming yet also dark and challenging, its also a story of perseverance and redemption in the face of tragedy.

With lively characters, a colourful setting and a rich and interesting plot I found Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet to be an entertaining and enchanting read. ( )
  shelleyraec | Apr 27, 2019 |
Where do I start with this one? Initially, I wanted to read this book because of the circus/freaks theme, although this book turned out to be something entirely unexpected. Let me warn you, this isn’t just a book about a curiosity cabinet, and I’m glad I was unaware of the true plot before diving into this book because it was truly a shock.

This is a story about a plague that hits Coney Island in 1904. It’s also a story about friendship, love, social class systems, segregation issues and so much m27015411ore. I was shocked at the depth of this book. I don’t remember the last time I fell in love with characters as much as I fell for the ones in this story.

Above all, this is one of the most creative stories I’ve ever read. At many times I found myself thinking, what a strange book…what a marvelous book. I already feel as if I’ve spoiled too much of this book, and I think it would be better read knowing less. It’s more along the lines of a mystery novel, yet unlike any I’ve ever read. Just do yourself a favor and enter Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet.

Author Website: http://www.hpwood.net/

Thank you to NetGalley for the chance to access this for review purposes.

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. ( )
  romymaria | May 10, 2018 |
Kitty Hayward, a young Englishwoman, travels to New York, with her mother, to join her brother. When they arrive, they learn that he has died, and not long after, her mother becomes ill. When Kitty returns to their hotel after being sent out to fetch some medicine, she’s told that no one named Hayward is registered at the hotel, and that no one on the staff knows who she or her mother are. Alone in a strange country, with only the clothes on her back, Kitty falls in with a con man who introduces her to the society of Unusuals of Coney Island, freaks, sideshow artists, entertainers and the like, and finds that, unlike the hotel staff, they are willing to help a young woman in distress. Of course it doesn’t hurt that whatever illness afflicted Kitty’s mother is spreading through the city, hitting Coney Island hard.

Upfront: I loved this book, just enjoyed the heck out of it. I gave it five stars on Goodreads as soon as I finished it, then fretted about that rating because I thought that I was putting myself in a position of having to defend my enthusiasm for a book which I thought was a bit didactic. However, as I discussed the book with The Housemate — a voracious reader herself — I realized that while Wood’s message did seem a bit anachronistic in context — her characters are diverse in terms of race, nationality, and gender/sexuality — she has actually given us a context which goes beyond that of time and place, a society of outsiders who understand what it is to be different at a bone-deep level. Because of this, her story is neither didactic nor anachronistic, but timeless in terms of how “different” people are forced to live in society.

I loved the characters, even the unlikeable ones. They’re well drawn, and fleshed out, and there are very few spear-carriers in the ensemble. In fact, Wood so deftly gives weight to all their stories that it’s difficult for me to pick out a protagonist. Kitty, whose dilemma starts the action, might well win by default, but only just. But the others all hold their own. However, if you’re looking for a narrative that is focused on the travails of a single person, don’t look here. I like this kind of ensemble cast, others will not.

Was there a mystery? Yes. A couple, actually. Was there action? Yes, some, though not breakneck. Romance? Oh yes, again a couple, each of which is, in its own way, transgressive. And because of this, and because of the themes of social justice and awareness, if you’re an enemy of diversity, don’t bother with it, or in fact with me.

Bottom line: I no longer feel I need to defend my rating. I loved it, I think it’s a good book. Period.
  Tracy_Rowan | Aug 27, 2017 |
Book Number 75!!

I usually do not read this type of fantasy fiction. I throughly enjoy it when I find something rich with superior storytelling. this book fell somewhere inbetween just ok and good. not like the Night Circus book I read earlier this year, which was amazing or The book of Speculation about a found family scrap book which was mind blowing. this book was just a jumble of a story but entertaining nonetheless. when you have a mystery wrapped in magic surrounded by carnies it becomes the perfect recipe for a gruesome read. in a good sense! ( )
  Alphawoman | Nov 6, 2016 |
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"It's a rare novel that manages to combine humor, tragedy, powerful friendships, outcasts, insiders, detached satire, and deeply felt emotion all in one..."--Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of The Other Daughter A hypnotic novel in turn-of-the-century Coney Island, where an abandoned girl collides with a disgruntled ménage of circus freaks. KittyHayward and her mother are ready to experience the spectacles of Coney Island's newest attraction, the Dreamland amusement park. But when Kitty's mother vanishes from their hotel, she finds herself penniless, alone, and far from her native England. The last people she expects to help are the cast of characters at Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet, a museum of oddities. From con men to strongmen, from flea wranglers to lion tamers, Kitty's new friends quickly adopt her and vow to helpfind the missing Mrs. Hayward. But even these unusual inhabitants may not be a match for the insidious sickness that begins to spread through Coney Island...or the panic that turns Dreamland into a nightmare. With shades of Water For Elephantsand The Museum of Extraordinary Things, Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet sweeps readers into a mesmerizing world where nothing is as it seems, and where "normal" is the exception to the rule.

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