The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid was inspired from my friendship with a retired circus sideshow sword swallower. The following are excepts from a recent review of my book:
“The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid is a novel that covers decades of time, and travels both North American coasts. The book opens with a scene with an older couple and their young grandson, the grandfather receiving some sad news. The remainder of the story is broken down into three parts that set the events that gave birth to that scene.
Part one introduces Duke Reynolds, the sword swallower. Duke is a member of a traveling circus as one of the side show attractions. In addition to sword swallowing and other daring acts, Duke is also heavily tattooed in a time when tattoos were largely worn by convicts and military. Diving into his vices, demons, and passions, the part covering Duke is the most detailed, and arguably the most poignant part of the tale.
The second part, aptly called The Destructive Path of a Chico Kid, introduces Gary. Gary is a young man moving from High School to college, trying to find his way in life, largely without success. From the more conventional self destructive paths of fervent drug and alcohol abuse, to, thankfully, less common methods like hosting a party that results in the barbecue of a wooly mammoth, and making rent by allowing strangers to staple cash to his chest, Gary tried them all.
The book is wrapped up with the third part exploring the relationship of the two men, brought together by happenstance. By this point, Duke seems to have slain most of his dragons and serves as a most unorthodox life coach of sorts to Gary.
Duke is one of the most well developed characters I have experienced in a long while. His love for his fellow circus performers, and the circus as a whole, is nearly palpable. Duke is clearly someone who loves without reservation, a trait that probably contributes to the abuse of his vices. For all of his inadequacies: drug and alcohol abuse and impulsive and risky behavior, his love for, and protection of, those he cares about is most defining of him.
Duke is not an exception; the author did a fantastic job creating distinct and vibrant characters throughout the book. From the other circus performers like Wubby, a developmentally delayed adult, to Julian, one of the first people Gary meets when he arrived on his college campus, nearly everyone Robinson creates is memorable.
Another surprising aspect of The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid is the social commentary woven throughout the book. This was surprising not only in that it existed, but also that it was done in a manner that avoided sounding preachy.
Overall, this was an absolutely delightful tale. I will be on the lookout for other works by Gary Robinson as I am now sold on his ability to tell a great story.”
When I finished this book, I thought I had written a very wonderful tale. The glowing reviews I have been receiving have been very heartwarming and humbling.
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I raised 3 children. They are all in college and are well on their way to being wonderful adults. I play a very mean harmonica. I can play nearly any song. You name it, I bet I can play it. I am learning the guitar and have a new profound respect for those who have mastered the instrument. I am a lover of books, I really enjoy the classics that convey a profound message to the reader. I live in my own world dreaming of stories to share. The kind that drop your mouth and have you lean on the edge of your seat. The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid is my first published book.