In the dire twilight of a blazing summer afternoon, at an upmarket farmhouse outside Toronto, Herbie Peel is born at the bottom of the kitchen sink.
‘I can’t decide if you’re a genius or a lunatic.’ Chris Labonte, McIntyre & Douglas, Vancouver.
Herbie’s fall from the mother potato is nothing compared to the shock of hitting the cold steel, which knocks a bit of the starch out of him. As he lies there, dazed under the trickling tap, orphaned, bruised, and already despised, the last fresh air of the world comes drifting in from the candlelit patio… Washed over by waves of erudite conversation, young Herbie soaks up big ambitions. Will he be the smartest peel ever, or just another pretentious phoney?
‘What makes this novel so brave and so original is exactly what would make it so difficult to publish.’ Judy Clain, Little, Brown, New York.
Striking out into a nursery-tale landscape in eclipse he meets Dickie Dirt, former objet d’art, in a Stetson hat and rhinestone-spangled vest. Impressed by Herbie’s intellectual-manqué vocabulary, Dickie proposes a cunning partnership to take them to the top of Megalopolis Studios.
Join Herbie as he careens towards the bright lights of a postmodern dump rimmed by the fire of celebrity television. Herbie has only till dawn to trip up his big buddy at every turn, unseat Percival Pig, Renaissance cowboy banker and gargantuan host of Poke Party, and dethrone the Day-Glo Pope, ruffian in a wedding dress who lords it over the highest stage of all.
‘You’re a fantastic writer, but publishing this book in Canada will ruin your career before it even starts. Get on the bestseller lists first.’ Janie Yoon, literary agent’s assistant, Toronto.