Eddie's Bastard: A Novel

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9780061098253: Eddie's Bastard: A Novel

"Eddie's Bastard" is William Amos Mann IV, known as Billy -- the son of a heroic pilot killed in Vietnam and an unknown woman. The last in a line of proud, individualistic Irish-American men, Billy is discovered in a basket at the door of the dilapidated mansion where his bitter, hard-drinking grandfather, Thomas Mann, has exiled himself. Astonished and moved by the arrival of his unexpected progeny, Thomas sets out to raise the boy himself -- on a diet of love, fried baloney, and the fascinating lore of their shared heritage. Listening to his sets out to capture the stories on paper. He is a Mann, Grandpa reminds him daily, and thus destined for greatness.

Through the tales of his ancestors, his own experiences, and the unforgettable characters who enhance and enliven his adolescence, Billy learns of bravery and cowardice, of life and death, of the heart's capacity for love and for unremitting hatred, eventually grasping the meaning of family and history and their power to shape destiny. Steeped in imagery and threaded with lyricism, Eddie's Bastard is a novel of discovery, of a young man's emergence into the world, and the endless possibilities it offers.

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Whoever Billy Mann's mother was, she wasn't one to mince words. "Eddie's Bastard" is the only inscription on the note taped to a picnic basket containing the infant, which is left on the doorstep of "herbalist and failed entrepreneur, Thomas Mann Junior." The depressed Mann immediately accepts that the child is the offspring of his own son, Eddie, recently killed in Vietnam, and sets out to raise him.

Grandpa had been a father in a time when men had nothing to do with the actual day-to-day business of raising children. Men didn't change diapers, warm bottles, or nurse babies. As a result, it was Grandpa's wife, and not Grandpa himself, who knew how to do all these things. Had she still been around, no doubt she would have taken over the business of raising me herself. But she--my grandmother--was no longer present to discuss it with; she'd simply disappeared one day when my father, Eddie, was still little, just after the Fiasco of the Ostriches, and Grandpa had never heard from her or of her again.
Still, Grandpa perseveres and baby Billy prospers under his unconventional care. As a child, Billy leads an isolated life--he is home-schooled, and their nearest neighbors, the Simpsons, live half a mile away and are on bad terms with Grandpa anyway. But Billy has his family history to keep him company--the Manns were once prominent and wealthy, before the ostrich débacle--not to mention the ghosts who share the Mann house and occasionally play tricks on the living inhabitants. At age 7, however, he ventures further afield than his backyard and meets Annie Simpson, a little girl with a terrible secret.

While Billy's relationships with his grandfather and his childhood friend are central to the novel, William Kowalski packs his story with lively subplots including a family curse, the identity of Billy's mother, and a legendary diary belonging to a Mann ancestor. Eddie's Bastard is a coming-of-age story that doesn't take itself too seriously. Though the standard elements of domestic drama are all here--abandonment, child abuse, alcoholism, death, and loss of innocence--whenever possible, Kowalski prefers to leaven his tragedy with a wink. Only a comedian would bankrupt a family with ostriches, after all. --Alix Wilber

About the Author:

William Kowalski is the author of Eddie's Bastard, Somewhere South of Here, and The Adventures of Flash Jackson. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1970 and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania. He lives in Nova Scotia with his wife and daughter.

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Eddie s Bastard is William Amos Mann IV, known as Billy -- the son of a heroic pilot killed in Vietnam and an unknown woman. The last in a line of proud, individualistic Irish-American men, Billy is discovered in a basket at the door of the dilapidated mansion where his bitter, hard-drinking grandfather, Thomas Mann, has exiled himself. Astonished and moved by the arrival of his unexpected progeny, Thomas sets out to raise the boy himself -- on a diet of love, fried baloney, and the fascinating lore of their shared heritage. Listening to his sets out to capture the stories on paper. He is a Mann, Grandpa reminds him daily, and thus destined for greatness. Through the tales of his ancestors, his own experiences, and the unforgettable characters who enhance and enliven his adolescence, Billy learns of bravery and cowardice, of life and death, of the heart s capacity for love and for unremitting hatred, eventually grasping the meaning of family and history and their power to shape destiny. Steeped in imagery and threaded with lyricism, Eddie s Bastard is a novel of discovery, of a young man s emergence into the world, and the endless possibilities it offers. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780061098253

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Eddie s Bastard is William Amos Mann IV, known as Billy -- the son of a heroic pilot killed in Vietnam and an unknown woman. The last in a line of proud, individualistic Irish-American men, Billy is discovered in a basket at the door of the dilapidated mansion where his bitter, hard-drinking grandfather, Thomas Mann, has exiled himself. Astonished and moved by the arrival of his unexpected progeny, Thomas sets out to raise the boy himself -- on a diet of love, fried baloney, and the fascinating lore of their shared heritage. Listening to his sets out to capture the stories on paper. He is a Mann, Grandpa reminds him daily, and thus destined for greatness. Through the tales of his ancestors, his own experiences, and the unforgettable characters who enhance and enliven his adolescence, Billy learns of bravery and cowardice, of life and death, of the heart s capacity for love and for unremitting hatred, eventually grasping the meaning of family and history and their power to shape destiny. Steeped in imagery and threaded with lyricism, Eddie s Bastard is a novel of discovery, of a young man s emergence into the world, and the endless possibilities it offers. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780061098253

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