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Our Napoleon in Rags Paperback – April 1, 2005
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The proprietors of the Don Q are especially protective of Keebler, self-appointed guardians of "Our Napoleon in Rags". Haycraft is ever brewing one scheme or another, small anarchies to challenge neighborhood complacency. Haycraft has a soft spot for the down-and-out, kindred souls who need a helping hand or a floor to sleep on, but everyone is concerned when Haycraft shows up with Lambret Dillinger, a fifteen-year old or so street hustler and graffiti artist with a penchant for sniffing aerosol cans. But Haycraft sees a spark there and nurtures the boy's burgeoning intellect.
The cast of characters could be out of a Dicken's novel, as colorful and eccentric as any 19th century denizens of the wrong side of the tracks: Beau and Glenda Stiles, owners of the Don Quixote; Romeo Diaz, who believes that "sex is liberation", hopelessly in love with Anantha Bliss, ex-ballet dancer turner stripper and internet diva; Chesley Sutherland, a local policeman temporarily off duty for use of excessive force, who watches over the patrons of the bar; and the inimitable Mather Williams, sometimes helper at the Don Q, who lives in Romeo's basement and creates his own unique works of art, a combination of drawings, kitsch and colored markers.Read more ›
Gann's writing is first-rate, as you would expect from somebody with his credentials. Nods to Cervantes's masterwork are purposeful and enrich the story. What the reviewer felt was disjointed worked well for me, namely narrator changes amongst the characters.
I don't want to spoil the ending so I will merely hint at my opinion by saying I might have preferred a more jarring climax.
Again, 4 of 5 stars.