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Boy On A Unicycle: Confessions Of A Young Man Trained To Be A Winner Paperback – September 26, 2017
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Paperback, September 26, 2017
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“A profoundly self-aware memoir from a man who was a performer all his life. This is the story of a young man who falls in love with applause, who realizes at a dangerously young age that most people do not care about the difference between the truth and a lie―so long as they are entertained. Dan McCall was first a child prodigy, then a best-selling novelist and professor, but had he been wired a tiny bit differently, he might have become president. A compelling and highly relevant tale in these times of fake news.” -- Philipp Meyer, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of The Son
"Boy on a Unicycle is a remarkable account of an All-American boy achiever and dreamer. It is both funny and deeply sad: a tragicomedy of brilliant youthful success and a hard look at the dark underside of this success, and its cost to one remarkably gifted writer." – Alison Lurie, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Foreign Affairs
“Dan McCall has written beautifully about the problems of being at the top, the national champion of this or that. To be there is to be left with all the devices and forces of competition that got you there idled in your new eminence. No resistance anywhere, no one else to defeat; one’s polished dynamics not able to function at large. Oneself the object of one’s contrivances.” - A. R. Ammons, winner of the National Book Award for Poetry
"Boy on a Unicycle is the powerful story of a heavily tutored show kid who sucked in unquestioning minds with a dramatically sentimental presentation of patriotism. It provides one hell of a peek behind the curtain of the saccharin image of WASP life promoted largely through TV sitcoms of the '50s... If there was something formally called WASP Studies, this book would be essential reading." - Reuben Munday
"Boy on a Unicycle is a great book by a shamefully under-recognized American novelist. Dan McCall's memoir of his golden-boy youth in the 1950s, when he won national speech contests with patriotic paeans to America's dream of itself, appeared on the Today program, and took part in a rigged TV game show, is a compelling portrayal of that time and this country -- and an entertaining if awful depiction of the price paid for being a child prodigy." - Ed Zuckerman, Executive Producer and Writer, Law and Order
"From beginning to end the author takes a distinct pleasure in evoking these days of his youth, and the reader just as great a pleasure in reading about them. For twenty-plus years Dan McCall was the nation's boy, and in every sense he lived up to the role." - Lamar Herrin, author of The Lies Boys Tell and Fractures
"Dan McCall's prose moves with clarity and assurance, having nothing to prove, and so much to offer." - Wayne Gladstone, author of Notes From the Internet Apocalypse
"Dan McCall engages and enchants the reader by creating vivid images with a few select words…. A thrilling discovery from a classic American writer, told with heart, honesty, and style." - Kirsten Lobe, author of Paris Hangover
About the Author
Dan McCall was the author of ten books of fiction and non-fiction, including Beecher (Dutton Books), Triphammer (Atlantic Monthly Press), and The Example of Richard Wright (Harcourt Brace). Dan was a beloved Professor of Creative Writing and American Studies at Cornell University for forty years. His novel Jack the Bear (Doubleday), translated into a dozen languages, was made into a 20th-Century Fox feature film.
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