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The Vagabond King Kindle Edition
Do you love detailed description and clever turns of phrase?
Then you'll love the coming of age story, The Vagabond King.
When his mother dies and he discovers that the man he was raised to believe was his father is not, sixteen-year-old Chris is haunted by a mysterious apparition and flees his affluent surroundings to embark upon a quest to find himself.
Hoping she will “make a man of him” he seeks sanctuary in the home of Magda, a middle aged waitress with a penchant for sex, only to discover that she lives with her father, a cigarette smoking, beer swilling immigrant.
Chris hates his shabby new surroundings at the end of the street and the shabby old man at the end of his life who spends his days listening to old blues records and making Chris fetch him fresh cans of beer.
But, when the old man tells tales of Communist Hungary, torture, escape and the mysterious medallion he wears, Chris learns that, like the old man’s skipping records, history repeats itself and the roles we play have been played many times before.
If you’ve ever wondered “what it’s all about” or, if you like mythological fiction like American Gods by Neil Gaiman, or visionary fiction like The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield or The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, then this book is for you.
The Vagabond King blends ancient mythology and modern cosmology in a lyrically told tale that will leave you thinking long after the last page is turned.
"I haven't finished a book so quickly in a long time because these characters were so intriguing. There were times I had to put the book down and simply reflect on how talented this author is. Conway's dialogue and narration are often mind-blowing." --Brian Braden, Undergroundbookreviews.com "The Vagabond King: A Coming of Age Story by James Campion Conway is far removed from your typical coming of age novel... This is a powerful story, beautifully told and well worth the highest rating I can give it." --Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
"The Vagabond King is an engaging read with a protagonist that readers can easily connect with, a well-developed character dealing with a powerful conflict." --Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
"From the very beginning, I was interested in the protagonist and couldn't help wanting to see what would become of him and if he could discover his roots. The story is real and exciting." --Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
"If you like thoughtful coming of age stories where characters have to find themselves during difficult circumstances, and with a dash of history thrown in, I'd definitely recommend this book!" --Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite
"The Vagabond King had a unique sense of style that had me immediately turning the pages from the moment I picked it up. The language was rich and the storyline was fresh... Certainly an interesting read--ambitious, and oftentimes even lyrical in its pages--The Vagabond King will appeal to readers who are looking for contemporaries that will leave them thinking after the last page is turned." --Pixie Lynn Whitfield, the-bookaholic.blogspot.com
"...if the world and literature survive into the next age, The Vagabond King will probably be a classic." --TM Romero, Goodreads.com
"Thought-provoking and absorbing...Mr. Conway has written a soulful and soul-searching novel of a young man's coming of age." --Star, Goodreads.com
"This is a story that takes the reader deep into the heart, minds and emotions...It is a book that tears down the walls that we all hide behind and exposes our soft underbelly..." --Jackie Burris, Goodreads.com
"I found this book an absorbing read, and while I can't quite put my finger on it there is something special about it." --Tracy Cook, tc-bookedup.blogspot.com
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- ASIN : B005MGEQ2K
- Publisher : Best Selling Books; 4th edition (September 11, 2011)
- Publication date : September 11, 2011
- Language : English
- File size : 1718 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 252 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #728,076 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- #86 in Death, Grief & Spirituality
- #187 in Children's General & Other Myth Books
- #386 in Folklore (Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on May 25, 2021
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Top reviews from the United States
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Chris, a teenaged boy, discovers the man he thought was his father, wasn't, so after his mother dies, he leaves and seeks shelter with Magda, an older waitress he'd bonded with. Magda happened to live with her father, 'Mick', who was tough on Chris, helping him learn to take responsibility and become a man. Chris fell in love with Magda and while she wouldn't marry him because of the age difference, once her father died, the two turned to one another for physically.
Magda eventually gets it through to Chris he has to talk with the man he'd thought was his dad. In doing so, he learned the man who'd raised him didn't know who HIS real father was; he'd been adopted into a less than perfect situation. The saddest twist of all, is when Chris is dying, he learns HE had a son with Magda ... another boy who was raised not knowing his father.
This was a poignant, emotional and gritty story that was masterfully written with superb character development that I couldn't stop reading.
The only thing that gave me pause was when the story fast-forwarded 20 years where we learned of Chris' son then reverted back to just six months after he left his father's home. I had to reorient myself there. Otherwise, it flowed nicely and was fairly easy to follow. That lone fact did not make me want to shave anything from a 5 star rating because The Vagabond KIng was just that good. It was intense without any happily after evers, but it's certainly a book I'll remember and likely will read again. I would definitely recommend!
"The morning after my mother's death, I was surprised to see the sun rise."
How can you put a book down after that?
There were times I would have liked to throw in the towel. Who wants to be dragged a second time, by the hair, flipping pages as you go, through the tedious muck of adolescence? Christopher, Conway's quintessential teen-age protagonist, really isn't all that likable. He's spoiled, petulant and prone to pages of banal, sophomoric philosophizing. What's the point of money if we're just going to die anyway? He runs away from his upper-middle class life of privilege and opportunity and shows up at the door step of Magda, a waitress he is infatuated with who is old enough to be his mother, and who he discovers after it is too late, lives with and supports her first generation Hungarian immigrant father. So, yes, Conway has a sense of humor, and, he tosses out a lot of really savory literary treats to reward us for sticking with his beast of a hero. The actual Vagabond King (and the real hero, in my opinion) is Lazlo Mihali, Magda's father and the mentor who guides Chris (he's changed his name and become a Buddhist vegetarian who refuses to eat the meals Magda provides and cooks for him) through his self-pity and angst and sets him, both feet on the ground, off to confront real life; an endeavor filled with enough honest to god misery and suffering there isn't any point in trying to dredge up more as far as Lazlo is concerned. Lazlo Mihali has become an all time favorite character for me. Conway portrays him perfectly. I can hear his accent, smell his stinky beer and cigarette polluted body odor, but, best of all are his stories. His love of airplanes and his descriptions of Hungarian food and his tales of life during the Communist invasion and regime.
There is a lot in this book. There are plenty of beautiful, clever, original turns of phrase. There is a plot and a few sub-plots; some well developed characters; but, the most important aspect of this book for me was that it had a moral. Not just any moral, but one that few authors would have the courage to propose in an age when the individual's search for self has become the driving force of humanity. Conway reminds us not to get so caught up looking for the meaning of our existence that we wake up one day and realize it's passed us by. This book probably won't make James Conway a famous man in his lifetime. But if the world and literature survive into the next age, The Vagabond King will probably be a classic.
Top reviews from other countries
It is a serious and intense story with some beautifully written meaningful sections, though threaded with sadness. It reaches the soul and tugs deep down into philosophical arguments...certainly something to make you think.
Maybe nothing changes - is that the tragedy of humankind? Perhaps, in the end, all we can do is look to ourselves and hope?
Worth a look if you wish to ponder on more than the surface.