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The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno: A…
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The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno: A Novel (edição 2010)

por Ellen Bryson

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
2755175,285 (3.42)21
Bartholomew works for legendary showman P.T. Barnum as the world's thinnest man. After a decade in the circus, Bartholomew feels his enthusiasm waning, until one evening when a mysterious woman arrives on the scene. Tasked with following her for Barnum, Bartholomew soon embarks on a magical journey of discovery.… (mais)
Membro:amerigoUS
Título:The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno: A Novel
Autores:Ellen Bryson
Informação:Henry Holt and Co. (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 352 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca, Lidos mas não possuídos
Avaliação:***
Etiquetas:historical fiction, 19th century, New York, P T Barnum

Pormenores da obra

The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno por Ellen Bryson

  1. 10
    Nights at the Circus por Angela Carter (the_awesome_opossum)
    the_awesome_opossum: Nights at the Circus was an inspiration for Ellen Bryson. Both novels are set in a circus and feature beautiful but intimidating women with some unorthodox gender dynamics. Also, both are really really fun reads.
  2. 10
    Geek Love por Katherine Dunn (fyrefly98)
    fyrefly98: Both are books featuring sideshow freaks, and both are about the need to define identity through uniqueness, and the costs of doing so.
  3. 00
    The Kingdom of Ohio por Matthew Flaming (upstairsgirl)
    upstairsgirl: Although the subject matters are different, the treatment and pacing are similar enough that if you enjoyed one you may enjoy the other.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 52 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
I give author Bryson props for an interesting premise - life inside P.T. Barnum's American Museum, as seen through the eyes of the title character, billed as The World's Thinnest Man. And clearly Bryson has researched her topic with care. (However, see "An Aside" below for some errors.)

That said, I found Bartholomew Fortuno's story less than compelling. Bryson has written from the first-person viewpoint of Fortuno, and it's hard to warm to his prissy and often superior narrative voice. Bryson's descriptive passages are clunky at times and the characters of Fortuno's fellow Curiosities at the Museum feel cursory and underdeveloped.

The plot is fairly straightforward: a mysterious new female Curiosity, Iell Adams, arrives at the American Museum and Fortuno becomes embroiled, heart and mind, in finding out more about her. Fortuno spends a lot of the book hurrying to assignations with Iell (as well as Barnum, Mrs. Barnum and others), but is usually summarily dismissed before anything really happens. By the fifth or sixth time this occurred, I'd lost interest, as I'd already figured out the big mystery about Iell. I almost stopped reading several times as the book grew more and more tedious, but I finished it just to make sure I was right about the Big Plot Reveal (and I was).

(An Aside: In spite of Bryson's research, she made two errors I found irritating.

1) Her characters are constantly writing with quills, which had been largely replaced by mass-produced steel pens by the early 1860s.

2) Fortuno has a pet in the form of a caged white-breasted nuthatch which "sings like an angel." Unfortunately, white-breasted nuthatches don't really "sing" - their birdsong is a single note repeated quickly - more of a bleating sound than a song.

Quibbles, to be sure, but both these points would have been easy to research. God is in the details, you know.) ( )
  mrsmig | Jan 19, 2018 |
Come one, come all, step right up and pay your nickel to meet the freaks in Ellen Bryson's book "The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno: A Novel" wherein she brings alive the world of P.T. Barnum's American Museum through the eyes of the title character Bartholomew 'Barthy’ Fortuno A.K.A. The World's Thinnest Man. The book opens with the birds-eye view of its protagonist observing the bustle of post-Civil War New York City from his perch on the fourth floor of the American Museum where he had resided for nearly a decade remarking, “In fact, whenever possible, I avoided leaving Barnum’s Museum at all. A man like me had no business in the wider world. Let the outside world come to me and pay to do it.” Like a special bird Fortuno is happy to sing for his supper in a gilded cage, yet moments later he will observe the arrival of a stranger whose presence will ignite the transformative events of the story. Most of Bryson’s central characters are members of Barnum’s cast of human curiosities including a fat lady, a strong man and a giantess. All of them work and reside at Barnum’s American Museum which was a catch-all cultural center covering interests high and low, part-circus, part-theatre, and part-museum, being both educational and full of hokum. In addition to the famous showman Phineas Taylor Barnum, real-life people featured in the story include his wife Charity Barnum and the famed Civil War photographer Mathew Brady. Bryson creates a mood of magical realism in the opening half of her novel, only to turn prosaic in the concluding sections, which momentarily disappoints. This reality and truthfulness is ultimately consistent with the treatment of her characters, whose uniqueness becomes a central theme of the story. In the end Bryson’s prose, which is anything but prosaic itself, illuminates the very concept of what makes a person unique. ( )
  ralphcoviello | Oct 23, 2013 |
This book didn't go over so well for me. I was drawn to and loved the timeframe (directly following Lincoln's assassination), and I liked getting some insight into Barnum's museum, but as a whole, the story line was mundane. The characters were a little peculiar, as one would expect in the atmosphere of "freaks and oddities," but there was no depth to anybody. All-in-all, my experience at the museum was somewhat disappointing, but I must give it props for depicting the time period in an interesting way. I learned a few things, and I like that. (2.75/5)

Originally posted on: Thoughts of Joy ( )
  ThoughtsofJoyLibrary | Aug 20, 2013 |
I fell in love with this book. Just the message of hope and loss. I really wanted Fortuno's dreams to be realized and was as heartbroken as he was by the truth. Enchanting. The characters were rich and vibrant, as was the voice and tone of the story. Just loved it! ( )
  bookwormteri | Jul 1, 2013 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
Full disclosure: it's been an unfortunately long while since I read The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno. But I do remember enjoying it, and finding it an intriguing and entertaining read, and for that reason I'm willing to gloss over the fuzziness of my recollection and offer what I hope is a good review.

I remember receiving the book and, because of its cover and the brief description of its content, believing that it would be geared more toward the magical and mysterious. I was a bit surprised to find that the world of P.T. Barnum's American Museum was populated by surprisingly normal people, and not enigmas, but as the novel goes on, this is a strength that Bryson is able to utilize. Instead of having the reader attach to stereotypes and broad strokes, we see characters beyond their physical descriptions, and that loads the proceedings with plenty of depth.

The novel revolves around the title character, a relatively simple thin man whose life is uncomplicated but safe, someone who wants more. With the arrival of an intriguing bearded lady to the museum, and with Bartholomew being subsequently summoned to run errands on an unexplained "task" that appears closely related to the bearded woman's coming, he suddenly has the interesting life he wanted, but is forced to question whether or not it's worth it as the comfortable friends he has come to love start to slowly pull away from him.

Bryson is very delicate with her characters' emotions, and that becomes hugely important as the narrative carries on toward its conclusion. It's also to her credit that Bryson rarely defaults to the "freakish" nature of her characters, instead letting their inner humanity shine through at all times. We feel for all of them, even as we know that we would probably judge them differently if we were looking at them in real life. By the end, the novel does submit to the feeling that it is a bit too constructed, with some reveals and revelations being more convenient than anything else, but the ending remains satisfying and true to what has come before. The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno does, then, end up pulling off something somewhat magical: a debut novel that is both well-executed and indicative of solid promise to come.
  dczapka | Apr 14, 2013 |
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Bartholomew works for legendary showman P.T. Barnum as the world's thinnest man. After a decade in the circus, Bartholomew feels his enthusiasm waning, until one evening when a mysterious woman arrives on the scene. Tasked with following her for Barnum, Bartholomew soon embarks on a magical journey of discovery.

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