A California Fantasy
“…funny, haunting and richly imaginative—a surrealistic cross between Max Shulman and Carlos Fuentes.” —Peter S. Beagle, author of "The Last Unicorn" and co-author of the screenplay, "Lord of the Rings"
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Navvy Dypes is twenty-seven years old and lives at the bottom of a swimming pool in Palm Springs, California. By an “act of will,” he has changed himself into a fish—complete with gills and scales—much to the chagrin of his father, who devises an insidious cure for his son’s affliction. But Navvy is determined to retain his new identity, for it is only in the water that his consciousness expands beyond the limits of the human sensibility. A trip to Ensenada, Mexico, reveals a message concealed in the bust of Miguel Hidalgo that promises him the ability to communicate to all creatures, great and small. Along the way, Navvy encounters a rich assortment of characters, many who sympathize with his quest, many who don’t. Hidalgo’s Beard is a rollicking fantasy in the tradition of Nathanael West and Richard Brautigan.
Conger Beasley, Jr. was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, and educated in Connecticut and New York City. From 1970 to 1982 he worked as an editor at Universal Press Syndicate and Andrews and McMeel Publishing Company in Kansas City, Missouri. In addition to Hidalgo’s Beard, The Ptomaine Kid and Messiah: The Life and Times of Francis Schlatter, all from Sunstone Press, he has published three books of poetry, and three volumes of short fiction. A collection of essays, Sun Dancers and River Demons, was given the Thorpe Menn Award for the best book published by a Kansas City author in 1991. We Are a People in This World: The Lakota Sioux and the Massacre at Wounded Knee won the Western Writers of America Spur Award for the best contemporary nonfiction book published in 1995.
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