The Tall Tale of Tommy Twice: A Novel
by Nathan Leslie
Fiction, Trade Paperback Original
5.25 x 8 in/204 pages
Publication Date: October 30, 2012
“[A] whimsical story full of magic and exaggeration worthy of Mark Twain or Washington Irving.” – Charles Rammelkamp, Chamber Four
When Tommy’s parents abandon him as a baby, his grandmother Gaga takes him to her reclusive house at the top of Pike’s Peak. Gaga’s parenting methods are extreme, but Tommy soon learns her eccentricities are nothing compared to the rest of his family. As he’s passed between his outlandish aunts, Tommy’s journey takes him to the country homestead of Aunt Tess (who hides surprising objects in her voluminous hair), the four city houses of Aunt Penny (who prefers to communicate by ESP), and the cave-like desert home of Aunt Chelsea the coyote hunter. As his cross-country romp reveals how bizarrely different families can be, Tommy begins to wonder if the conventional home he’s dreamed of might not be for him after all.
The Tall Tale of Tommy Twice captures the unmoored feelings of young adulthood and the complexities of American identity. It’s a dazzling novel about the ineffability of childhood and the nature of family and relationships in the increasingly rootless American experience.
Praise for Tommy Twice:
“Sure, the tale told tall by Tommy Twice is a laugh-riot, page after page of yuks, high-minded absurdity, and Ionesco-worthy wackiness. But beneath the gags and guffaws and gasps lies … that awful sense that connection, within a family or without, is downright impossible.”
— Lee K. Abbott, All Things, All at Once: New & Selected Stories
“Nathan Leslie writes with a superbly supple and balanced sensibility equally at home in light and darkness. His use of language is richly varied and invariably fits his characters and themes. His latest book is one more example of why he is one of the truly exciting writers of his generation.”
— Novelist Richard Burgin, founder and editor, Boulevard
“Truth is a moving target in this mythic telling of the life of a young boy growing up in a series of outlandish circumstances. Half the fun of reading Tommy is discovering some version of that truth. Tommy Twice’s voice is engaging, astute, and mildly sorrowful. Nathan Leslie will get you to think more than once about the shadowy figures—childhood friends, estranged family members—that you may have encountered in your own life.”
— Valerie Fox, The Rorschach Factory
“At first you’ll think you’re reading a typical American orphan fable, but you’ll soon see it’s anything but. This orphan has a family—and what a family! Bizarre, sad, cruel, funny and horrible, The Tall Tale of Tommy Twice is always surprising—Nathan Leslie channeling The Brothers Grimm.”
— Lynda Schor, author of Seduction (Spuyten Duyvil Press)
“Little Tommy Twice, our young and innocent picaro, has trouble squared trying to save his own benighted life. You’re about to meet some folks that you won’t soon forget in this Rabelaisian tale of an orphan’s progress. Nathan Leslie has great fun with his ingenious storytelling. He’s not afraid to be wild and outrageous and is clever enough to let us in on the secrets of his narrative magic.”
— John Dufresne, Requiem, Mass.
About the Author
Nathan Leslie is the author of seven story collections and former fiction editor at Pedestal Magazine. The Tall Tale of Tommy Twice is his debut novel.