Born attached at the chest, Chang and Eng were considered a marvel, an omen, an act of God, evidence of His glory or proof of His wrath. Uniquely cursed, enslaved to one another for life, they were a joke of nature variously feared and abhorred, disturbing our most basic assumptions about the human condition. Looking beyond the twins’ physical connection, Slouka imagines one man’s life of ordinary grace and suffering, longing and resistance, and the ties of love, as well as of blood, that bind and redeem us all.
Despite the incomparable predicament of their physical condition, Chang is wrapped in ordinary grace and suffering, searching for tranquility as he travels from Siam's marketplace to Parisian salons, to London's underworld and P.T. Barnum's sideshow, all the while improbably connected to a man who becomes his sworn enemy. In a last attempt at a normal life, Chang and Eng retire from the sideshow and move to the American South where they marry two sisters and Chang finds short-lives peace and redemption in his love for his son Christopher. This peace, however, is overtaken as events in their adopted country force them into a final terrifying battle with fate.
God's Fool (2002)
“If you can read [God’s Fool] without being astonished and touched, then you’d better check to see if your heart is made of stone…simply brilliant. A book of the year.”
— Dallas Morning News
"Slouka writes with the bare-bones ferocity of Jerzy Kosinski and the visual intensity of John Updike."
― Boston Herald
“Few books in recent memory have offered as much in terms of fully-formed characters, and fewer authors share Slouka's gift to render the extraordinary in ordinary terms without sacrificing its potency.”
— San Francisco Chronicle
“Exceptionally beautiful…the power of language and of reflection on the nature of connection is…essential, and compelling.”
—Washington Post Book World
“A gifted stylist.”
“With this sprawling, beautiful novel that touches on everything from slavery to the shadows of unremembered memory, Chang and Eng have inspired another winner.”
“A poetic rumination on love and family…We are constantly moved to tears by Slouka's spare and heart-breaking novel.”