George V. Reilly

Review: Mr. Vertigo

Mr. Vertigo
Title: Mr. Vertigo
Author: Paul Auster
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 1994
Pages: 293
Keywords: fiction
Reading period: 14-20 October, 2007

Walt the Wonder Boy can walk on air. Really. He was a nine-year-old orphan pulled off the streets of 1920s St. Louis by Master Yehudi and taught in a long, grueling process to levitate and walk through the air. Walt becomes a huge hit and he and Master Yehudi travel around America, pulling in the crowds. It can’t last of course and Walt loses his ability once puberty strikes. Master Yehudi dies and Walt settles into a second career as a small-time crook and club owner in 1930s Chicago. He goes through several more changes, which are dealt with briefly, before ending up as an old man in the 1990s.

Walt’s a fire­crack­er kid with a smart mouth and a product of his times. I could easily see him played by Mickey Rooney. Tragedy strikes him again and again, but he overcomes most of it.

This book is a lot of fun. Highly rec­om­mend­ed.

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