The Electric Michelangelo Author:Sarah Hall Hall's mellifluous coming-of-age story about an apprentice tattoo artist from the north coast of England who reinvents himself in Coney Island, N.Y., is picaresque in its sweep and lovely in its lush description. This 2004 Booker Prize finalist, Hall's second novel (after Haweswater) but first U.S. release, follows Cyril Parks from his youth in ... more »the 1910s, as he grows up the only son of the widowed proprietor of the Bayview Hotel in Morecambe, through his hard-won apprenticeship to the seedy rogue Eliot Riley, under whose exacting tutelage he becomes a skilled tattoo artist. From his benevolent mother, Reeda Parks, who puts up consumptives at her hotel, he learns not to be disgusted by the spectacle of human misery. (Reeda also performs secret abortions and campaigns for women's suffrage.) Upon Reeda and Riley's deaths, Cy takes off for America and plies his trade among the vibrant array of freak shows at Coney Island. By 1940, he meets a local Russian chess champion, Grace, and during the course of their love affair he inscribes 109 eye tattoos all over her body. Hall's writing is pure joy, especially when describing the childhood seaside shenanigans of Cy and his boy pals.« less
If you have ever wanted to know more about the history of tattos OR about the history of Coney Island, this is your book. A tattoo artist on Coney Island at the beginning of the 20th century. I liked this book but my book group hated it. Frankly, I think that most of them didn't make it past the first chapter and it would have grown on them if they had.
this was a great story of a tattoo artist who grows up in northern england and comes to coney island it the midst of its greatness and encounters many unique people. this was a beautifully written story!
Now that I've finished this novel, I keep thinking back on it as I try to work out my feelings on it. I had read Daughters Of The North and found it a decent read so I decided to check out this one due to the subject. The descriptive prose is so thick that at times you feel like you're swimming through it, but for some reason I can't articulate I actually really enjoyed it. I wouldn't blame anyone put off by the heaviness of the writing style but it actually appealed to me (maybe because I was interested in the plot?). The main character Cy is extremely fleshed-out while the supporting characters all get a decent amount of page-time as well. All in all, I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. If you can struggle through adjusting to the thickness of the writing style, I would definitely recommend this novel.