Genre: Fiction; Author: Wade Rubenstein; Publisher: Counterpoint

A seagull ingests the used prophylactic from a couple?s beach tryst in Brooklyn?s Coney Island. An incubation period later, Ernesto Zanpa stumbles upon the gull?s half-bird half-boy offspring in his yard, names him after his father, Franco, and raises him as his own. Gullboy is subtitled ”The Inconceivable Life of Franco Pajarito Zanpa,” and this novel is just that: an absurd imagining of an unlikely child featuring a huge, even unlikelier cast of characters — a porn-loving accountant, a Lizard Girl sideshow act, an overambitious medical resident who performs plastic surgery on the side. Despite his intriguing premise and clever turns of phrase, Wade Rubenstein encumbers his debut with too many characters and subplots, grounding Gullboy before it?s able to take flight.

Originally posted September 21 2005 — 12:00 AM EDT

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