Bartholomew Fortuno, the World’s Thinnest Man, believes that his unusual body is a gift. Hired by none other than P. T. Barnum to work at his spectacular American Museum – a modern marvel of macabre displays and live performances by Barnum’s cast of freaks and oddities – Fortuno has reached the pinnacle of his career. But after a decade of solid performance, he finds his contentment flagging. When a carriage pulls up outside the museum in the dead of night, bearing Barnum and a mysterious veiled woman – rumoured to be a new performer – Fortuno’s curiosity is piqued. And when Barnum asks Fortuno to follow her and report back on her whereabouts, his world is turned upside-down. Who is she? Why is Barnum so obsessed? And why has she taken such a hold of the hearts of those around her?
The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno is a moving novel about human appetites and longings, exploring, in pitch-perfect prose, what it means to be profoundly unique – and the power of love to transcend even the greatest divisions.
The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno ‘brings alive the curious world of P.T. Barnum’s American Museum . . . transforming in the process the freaks and prodigies into heartbreaking people. Bryson is bedazzling, a real writer of extraordinary bravado.’ Keith Donohue, author of Angels of Destruction and The Stolen Child