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The Beard Paperback – September 27, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Atlatl Press (September 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615326331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615326337
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,090,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Completely captivated me; all the various - and extremely strange - characters are surprisingly sympathetic. - Tony Cole for

If Holden Caulfield rented a timeshare in Vegas, only to find out he double-booked with Hunter S. Thompson, and then they both sat down over a buffet of mind-altering drugs and wrote a book, I THINK it might be something like The Beard. BEHOLD THE POWER OF FACIAL HAIR! - Nathaniel Lambert, co-author of Sideshow PI: The Devil's Garden and It's OK To Be a Zombie

The story is so wild and unpredictable that the reader learns to let go early on in the book and just enjoy the scenery as the author takes them on a road trip through the world of bizarro. - William Pauley III, author of Doom Magnetic!

Sure to please any fan of weird fiction. - Grant Wamack for Spontaneous Combustion

I loved this book. I loved its feel, its pace, and its imagery. - Lucas Thorn for Lateral Obsessions

It messes with your perspective, sense of time and space, and makes you wonder if you really just read that sentence. - Jim Gavin, author of Hard Boiled Vampire Killers

It's like eating a creativity sandwich. - Daniel Clausen, author of The Lexical Funk

About the Author

Andersen Prunty lives in Dayton, Ohio. He is also the author of The Overwhelming Urge, Zerostrata, Jack and Mr. Grin, Market Adjustment and Other Tales of Avarice, and The Sorrow King. Visit him on the web at

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Clausen on October 4, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
Warning: One or two spoilers in the mix.

An elephant wind. That's what this book is. You probably don't know what that means. If you try to picture it your mind, you might get some idea of what the book is. You'll definitely know what that means after you read the book and then you can decide whether that statement is accurate or not--but for now, perhaps it's sufficient to say that the book is an elephant wind. I took up the book in the midst of doing some very difficult school research and came away with renewed optimism in life, the universe, and everything.

What's the book about? It's about growing up and growing old; it's about writing a book and abandoning it; it's about listening to records alone in your room at a time when you wish that everything would just fade into the background; it's about randomness and large creatures that look like whales but have human butts so that when they come out of the water, they moon you. It's about the comfort of having a beard, but also about tripped out firemen who are on something and so who jump into fires.

It's "absurdist" fiction, or "bizzarro" fiction, certainly. But in another sense, I think this book is also slacker fiction. When I opened up the book, man oh man, I was in need of some slacker fiction in my life. Fiction that kind of wanders around, tries to befriend you, then falls asleep on your couch for a week. That may sound bad, and in some parts of the book, I admit it's easy to get lost--but I thought it was comfortable to read; maybe I was just in the right mood. In other ways it's like eating a creativity sandwich. I came up with like three ideas for stories while reading this book. At one point in the book, one of the characters says, if you chase something then it only gets further away. One of the virtues of this book is that it won't try to hard to get you to like it--it just is what it is, and for me it's fairly easy to befriend a piece of writing that comfortable with itself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lucas Thorn on November 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
Andersen Prunty has a style I really like, and I'm not afraid to admit that. While so far I've only read one of his other books, Zerostrata, I feel I can comfortably order the rest of his collection without fear. Especially after reading The Beard.

Plotwise, it's a funky one. Basically, a young boy witnesses his grandfather being abducted by a herd of elephants in a scene I really really liked. I, too, could smell the elephants and I will never look at a storm in quite the same way again. He grows up with aspirations of being a writer, however his single manuscript is rejected so he decides instead to grow a beard. Returning home, he is confronted with his mother's death and the revelations his father may not be his father but an imposter (imposters are a common theme in this novel), who convinces him he must go to the mystical island of the Nefarions to return a sacred flame his grandfather had stolen from them in hope that might appease them and thus earn the lifting of the family curse. The trip is, quite literally, a trip, and it was dealt out with masterful prose in a quiet and near-dreamlike manner which suited the book's use of naps and sleep as a central theme.

Along his travels, our hero journeys through some strange towns, cities and states. He is witness to some truly interesting moments while being pursued by his own imposter and two other mutants from the island of the Nefarions. Accompanied only by the man he thought was his father who may not be but could be his father or an imposter of his father (just go with it), and at one stage a nice dwindling team of bodyguards, he discovers not just resolution to the family curse, but a resolution of the spirit which may allow him to live his life as he is comfortable.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By mikedoeseverything on July 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
From the quaint Ernest Hemingway nod in the first couple of pages to the final notes on the home toward the end of the novel, Andersen Prunty's THE BEARD reads like the Great American novel of 2009 that never was.

THE BEARD begins by asking the interesting question: "what happens to the authentic character when it is subject to strange situations?"

There is a moment in THE BEARD, shortly after the introduction, when the main character, David Glum, appearing to be stuck in an instance of self-actualization, quickly stops what he is doing so he can observe the people walking up and down Fifth Avenue. He asks himself "who [are] these people?" and after pondering the thought for a few seconds, decides that the real answer is insignificant to his cause and returns to his adventure-to-be.

Andersen Prunty's THE BEARD is full of moments like this--exercises in self-evaluation that explore the idea of the normal/authentic character. As the novel begins, David is a child and his grandfather, the first and only figure of fatherhood in the novel, an anchor to the home, is quickly abducted by an untraceable (and almost alien) herd of elephants. From the beginning stages of the book, Prunty is already removing all semblance of normality in David's life and subjects the reader to a bizarro tale of dramatic/epic proportions that focuses on the idea of character. This refusal to tolerate what is normal continues as David ages and later finds that his father, his whole life, was really just a man named Gary Wrench, who had been playing the role of his "real" father for the past twenty-some years.
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More About the Author

Andersen Prunty is the author of FU*KNESS and HI I'M A SOCIAL DISEASE, among other books. He lives in Ohio.

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