Cover image for Big fish : a novel of mythic proportions
Big fish : a novel of mythic proportions
Wallace, Daniel, 1959-
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Thorndike, Me. : Thorndike Press, 2001.

Physical Description:
208 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Large Print - Floating collection Floating Collection - Large Print

On Order



He could outrun anybody, and he never missed a day of school. He saved lives. Animals loved him, people loved him, women loved him. And he knew more jokes than any man alive. In his prime, Edward Bloom was an extraordinary man. There wasn't anything he couldn't do. At least that's what he told his son, William, who, faced with his father's imminent death, is desperate to discover who the man really was. Inspired by the few facts he knows, William re-creates his elusive father's life in a series of legends and myths. He begins to understand Edward Bloom's great feats -- and great failings. And he finds a way to say goodbye.

Author Notes

Daniel Wallace is the author of Big Fish (which was made into a fearture film), The Watermelon King, Ray in Reverse, Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician, and The Kings and Queens of Roam. Wallaces works have been translated into more than 25 languages.

Wallace is the J. Ross MacDonald Distinguished Professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he teaches and directs the Creative Writing Program.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Small glimpses of the soul of another through the lattice of tall stories make up this charming first novel, which chronicles the seemingly charm-free topic of a son's wrestling with his father's dying. William Bloom's father, Edward, wasn't home much, but he made a life and a lot of money. In the long time his father takes to die, William tries desperately to find the man his father was inside the local legends that grew up around him. Most of the very brief chapters quickly launch themselves into myth and tall tale: Edward trying to leave Ashland, where he was born, and being caught in an almost-Ashland where broken dreams and broken fingers reside. Wallace notes that he wrote this novel in short spurts while caring for his small son and working in his own business, and oddly enough, the fantastical roots of everyday are visible here, as William searches for answers to such questions as, How do we reach the heart of another person? Readers who loved Martha Bergland's Idle Curiosity [BKL My 1 97] will love this one, too. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

"People mess things up, forget and remember all the wrong things. What's left is fiction," writes Wallace in his refreshing, original debut, which ignores the conventional retelling of the events and minutiae of a life and gets right to the poetry of a son's feelings for and memories of his father. William Bloom's father, Edward, is dying. He dies in fact in four different takes, all of which have William and his mother waiting outside a bedroom door as the family doctor tells them it's time to say their goodbyes. He intersperses the four takes with stories (all filtered through William's mind and voice) about the elusive Edward, who spent long periods of time on the road away from home and admitted once to his son that he had yearned to be a great man. The father and son deathbed conversations have son William playing earnest straight man, while his father is full of witticisms and jokes. In a plainspoken style dotted with transcendent passages, Wallace mixes the mundane and the mythical. His chapters have the transformative quality of fable and fairy tale, and the novel's roomy structure allows the mystery and lyricism of the story to coalesce. Agent, Joe Regal; author tour. (Oct.) FYI: Wallace is an illustrator who designs T-shirts, refrigerator magnets and greeting cards. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Part I The Day He Was Bornp. 5
In Which He Speaks to Animalsp. 8
The Year It Snowed in Alabamap. 9
His Great Promisep. 12
My Father's Death: Take 1p. 13
The Girl in the Riverp. 24
His Quiet Charmp. 28
How He Tamed the Giantp. 29
In Which He Goes Fishingp. 34
The Day He Left Ashlandp. 37
Entering a New Worldp. 50
Part II The Old Lady and the Eyep. 57
My Father's Death: Take 2p. 65
His First Great Lovep. 76
His Legendary Legsp. 78
In Which He Makes His Movep. 79
The Fightp. 81
On Meeting the In-Lawsp. 86
His Three Laborsp. 91
He Goes to Warp. 101
My Father's Death: Take 3p. 106
The Day I Was Bornp. 117
How He Saw Mep. 120
How He Saved My Lifep. 125
His Immortalityp. 128
His Greatest Powerp. 130
In Which He Has a Dreamp. 133
Part III In Which He Buys a Town, and Morep. 143
How It Endsp. 164
My Father's Death: Take 4p. 169
Big Fishp. 175