The Magic Wagon - Joe R. Lansdale Lansdale states this is his favorite of his novels. Just my luck that my favorite author would pick a book that has been out of print for a long time. Fortunately it is back in print and I finally got around to reading it. Is it better than The Bottoms, my favorite Lansdale novel? It's a photo finish and the judges aren't back from lunch yet.

The Magic Wagon is told through the narration of a 17 year old boy, having been abandoned and on his own, (Lansdale's favorite type of narrator) as he latches onto a traveling medicine show. He is welcomed by a kindly black man but the other half of the show, a cranky sharp-shooter who claims to be the son of Wild Bill Hickok, is not so welcoming. Lansdale's witty and colorful descriptions are abundant in this story and there is plenty of Wild West mythology and folklore for the writer to make his own. But what the author really is doing is writing about family; those we choose and those we do not choose. This is not a typical western at all. I don't think Lansdale has ever wrote a typical anything. But it is one of his most emotional tales and is certainly one of his best.