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Bad Man Paperback – December 1, 1996

2 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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About the Author

Stanley Elkin (1930-1995) was an award-winning author of novels, short stories, and essays. Born in the Bronx, Elkin received his BA and PhD from the University of Illinois and in 1960 became a professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis where he taught until his death. His critically acclaimed works include the National Book Critics Circle Award-winners "George Mills" (1982) and "Mrs. Ted Bliss" (1995), as well as the National Book Award finalists "The Dick Gibson Show" (1972), "Searches and Seizures "(1974), and "The MacGuffin" (1991). His book of novellas, "Van Gogh's Room at Arles", was a finalist for the PEN Faulkner Award.

DAVID C. DOUGHERTY is Managing Director of David C. Dougherty & Associates, which provides organization and personnel consulting services to manufacturing companies and banks. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (December 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380728982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380728985
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,961,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stanley Elkin (1930-1995) was an award-winning author of novels, short stories, and essays. Born in the Bronx, Elkin received his BA and PhD from the University of Illinois and in 1960 became a professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis where he taught until his death. His critically acclaimed works include the National Book Critics Circle Award-winners George Mills (1982) and Mrs. Ted Bliss (1995), as well as the National Book Award finalists The Dick Gibson Show (1972), Searches & Seizures (1974), and The MacGuffin (1991). His book of novellas, Van Gogh's Room at Arles, was a finalist for the PEN Faulkner Award.

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Format: Paperback
This book started out very well, with the interesting premise of a properous businessman who grows more and more unscrupulous and eventually winds up in jail. The early details of the man's youth with his mentally unbalanced, emigrant merchant father are very entertaining, and the details of the man's unsatisfactory homelife are often very funny. However, the surreal nature of the prison life and the magical realism that the author indulges in are overdone, too detailed and ridiculous.
The author seems to be trying to say that the businessman's corruption stemmed from something in his soul, and that the prison with its psuedo-psychologist warden and its crazy rules is there to address this part of the man's character, but in the end it's all a tedious mish-mash and the speeches all go on for too long. The book collapses under the weight of this surreal, oddball device.
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