As an eight-year old confined to bed because of a preternatural growing
spurt, Edward Bloom occupies himself by reading the entire World Book
Encyclopedia. He is taken in particular with an article about goldfish,
in which he learns that «if goldfish are kept in a small bowl, they will
remain small. With more space, the fish can double, triple or quadruple
its size.» Ten years later, after becoming one of the most popular
young men in Ashton, Alabama, he realizes that—like the goldfish—in
order for him to grow he must leave home and explore the world. And
thus, an improbable and mythic journey begins. Many years and countless
adventures later, Bloom is well known as a teller of tall tales about
his colorful life as a less than ordinary young man, when his wanderlust
took him around the world and back again. His mythic exploits range
from the delightful to the surreal, interweaving epic sagas about giants
and werewolves, conjoined Korean lounge singers, a witch with a glass
eye that can see the future—and of course, a big fish that refuses
to be caught. Bloom’s fabled stories charm everyone he encounters except
his son Will, who has also left home but in this case to get out from
under his father’s considerable shadow. When Edward becomes ill and his
wife, Sandra, tries to reconcile them, Will embarks on his own personal
journey trying to separate the myth from the reality of his father’s
life and come to terms with the man’s giant feats and great failings.
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