Love and Other Games of Chance: A Novelty

Front Cover
Viking, 2003 - Fiction - 418 pages
The fantastic and flamboyant hero of "Love and Other Games of Chance" is Isaac Schlossberg, circus performer, entertainer, and world traveler. The son of Jewish immigrants to America at the beginning of the twentieth century, Isaac spends his formative years in California, performing with his parents in traveling sideshows and circus acts. His later travels take him to Calcutta, where he assembles a troupe of "Oriental Oddities," to Paris, working a stint at the Grand Guignol ThA(c)A[tre d'horreur, and finally to Hollywood, starring as Ponce de LeA3n in a movie produced by Jewish mobsters.
Isaac organizes the tall tales of his past into one hundred chapters or squares, as on the children's game Snakes and Ladders. As he travels around the world (and up and down the game board) he moves sentimentally from the beginnings of love through many of its most painful and joyous, noble and ridiculous manifestations. The cast of characters includes sharpshooters and fortune-tellers, mentalists, magicians, mesmerists, and midgets, with cameos from Buffalo Bill, Geronimo, Hitler, Bugsy Siegel, and the Abominable Snowman. The key players in this game are small and vulnerable people, each with some grandiose fantasy and high hope of making life more wondrous.
A sumptuous entertainment in the vein of "Carter Beats the Devil" and "Niagara Falls All Over Again," "Love and Other Games of Chance" is at once silly and grand, utterly absurd and yet full of meaning.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LOVE AND OTHER GAMES OF CHANCE

User Review  - Kirkus

Raucous adventure tale of a man's journey from the Dead Sea to the top of Mt. Everest, in a hundred vignettes touring early 20th-century pop culture.Author Siegel's mother reveals in a prologue that ... Read full review

Love and other games of chance: a novelty

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Siegel's erotic farce, Love in a Dead Language, established him as a comic writer with considerable flair. Here, he continues in that vein with a Jewish circus performer extraordinaire, infusing the ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information