Only Mark Dunn, author of the acclaimed Ella Minnow Pea, would attempt to write a novel entirely in footnotes-and succeed so triumphantly. Ibid is the off-the-wall fictional biography of Jonathan Blashette, a three-legged circus performer and deodorant entrepreneur. Dunn, a character in his own novel, is Blashette's esteemed biographer. But when Dunn's editor destroys the manuscript in an unfortunate bathtub accident, all that remains are the footnotes, which they arrange to publish in a consummate portrait of Blashette's strangely hilarious life story, one that offers some infinitely interesting morsels of American cultural history. Of course, as endnotes go, these are the tidbits, the marginalia: snippets of commentary, correspondence, court transcripts, song lyrics, and even a recipe for Boston baked beans. But in the topsy-turvy world of Ibid, the footnotes tell the truest story of all.
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