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November 30 , 2008

Human Amusements


Offering further evidence of his astounding range as a novelist, the bestselling author of The Colony of Unrequited Dreams and The Navigator of New York crafts a hilarious and moving paean to the dawn of the television age. Henry Prendergast grew up on television—not merely watching it, but starring in the wildly popular children’s show “Rumpus Room.” Cast in the roles of Bee Good and Bee Bad by his mother Audrey, the show’s creator, Henry came of age along with the new medium—one that would soon propel his family out Toronto’s middle-class life and into the tabloids.
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Henry’s father Peter, a would-be novelist, refuses to have any part in his wife’s burgeoning television empire, but commits himself instead to the task of being a walking, talking—mostly scathing—reminder of the family’s “humble beginnings.” Then, on the heels of Rumpus Room, Audrey dreams up The Philo Farnsworth Show, loosely based on the life story of the young teen credited with inventing the tube and starring Henry in the lead role. Rapidly amassing a cult-like following of “Philosophers,” the show challenges the Prendergasts anew. Forced into increasing isolation by a fervent media, they must work harder than ever to not let success get the best of them.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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