Henry of Atlantic City
By Frederick Reuss
From the author of Horace Afoot comes this affectionate and beautiful tale of a six-year-old prodigy with a photographic memory and a penchant for the Gnostic gospels and Byzantine history. Set against the background of Caesar's Palace, Henry of Atlantic City is a satirical "hagiography" of a troubled child trying to make sense of the world around him. Henry, whose imagination has been fed by ancient texts, finds himself living in a conflated world of past and present where casino owners are Byzantine Emperors, and the world is populated by Huns, Cappadocians, and Visigoths. When his father, a casino security guard, lands in trouble with the mob, Henry begins a peripatetic life wandering from relatives to foster homes to orphanages. As Henry struggles to find a place for himself in the world, we are treated to an exploration of spirituality and childhood that is heartbreaking, uplifting, and simply divine.