Eight-year-old Horty Bluett has never known love. His adoptive parents are violent; his classmates are cruel. So he runs away from home and joins a carnival. Performing alongside the fireaters, snakemen and "little people," Horty is accepted. But he is not safe. For when he loses three fingers in an accident and they grow back, it becomes clear that Horty is not like other boys. And this "difference" is something that some people might want to use. Now Horty knows that his difference is a risk not only to his own life, but to the lives of the outcasts who have, for so many years, provided for him a place to call home. Theodore Sturgeon renders the multiple wounds of loneliness, fear, and persecution with uncanny precision in this vividly drawn, expertly plotted masterpiece.
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