First novel by the creator of the amazing Archy and Mehitabel. There are definitely a few touches of Marquis' poetic genius, but overall this is very rough and unsatisfying.

It's a picaresque journey through the seedier parts of early-1900s small-town America: hucksters, quacks, fake Indians, temperance unions, uptight schoolmarms with tragic pasts. There are some enjoyable little set-pieces, but then an extended satire on race relations in the South makes very uncomfortable reading (lovingly detailed phonetic slave-speech and more n-words than Django Unchained) as Marquis' mockery feels rather off-the-mark. A moment of genuine tension as the Klan debate whether to lynch a white man (!!!). The resolution of this finally reveals the Plot; it's quite a clever little construction but the young Marquis doesn't know what to do with it after that. The End.