Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 15
- Grade: 10
In these pages you will encounter gamblers and adventurers, conmen and conwomen, rodomontades and ragamuffins, outright fools and outrageous liars. Scalawags, the lot of them. But you can be an adventurer, a conman or conwoman, a fool, liar, gambler, rodomontade or ragamuffin and not be a scalawag. Many adventurers are not even interesting, come to think of it, let alone scalawags. There is an ineffable quality, an indefinable something or other that sets some people apart, places themin the special category that Jim Christy calls "scalawag." You might call them something else: nuts, perhaps. And quite frankly in many instances-George Francis Train, for instance, or Louis De Rougemont-you'd probably be right. But likewise you don't have to be a crackpot to be a scalawag: Two Gun Cohen, for instance, or Lady Jane Digby. What you have to be is outrageous with a bit of what Andre Malraux, an adventurer and liar, perhaps-;but not a scalawag-designated, in reviving an old French word, farfelu. It means that you are willing to risk everything, whether on a grand or small scale, on the craziest of schemes, the wildest of notions.
"Curious cases of cannibalism, extreme sado-masochism, and generally irrational behaviour abound, making 'Scalawags' the perfect balm anyone attempting to cloister their desires in a bid for self improvement." - Steven Schelling
"My advice: Keep your copy of 'Scalawags' in the bathroom. Or on your bedside table. Or in the bag you carry on thebus. It's perfectly suited to those times when you're seeking a momentary escape. There's nothing like outrageous lives and flamboyant characters to take you out of your dreary day-to-day." - Robert J. Wiersema, The Vancouver Sun
About the author
Always in search of original characters and experiences, Jim Christy is a literary vagabond with few peers. He was once described by George Woodcock as “one of the last unpurged North American anarchistic romantics.” His publisher has called him a hip Indiana Jones; one reviewer credited him with a “Gary Cooper-like presence.” His buddies have included hobos, jazz musicians, boxers, and non-academic writers such as Charles Bukowski, Peter Trower and Joe Ferone. “I never dismiss another’s story out of hand,” he writes, “no matter what it’s about or how outrageous it may seem.” Christy’s often wry reminiscences of his travels, trysts and trials are fuelled by a hard-won pride. A gardener, a sculptor and a spoken word performer with a jazz/blues ensemble, Christy has been seen in film and television productions, usually in non-speaking roles as a thug or a gangster.
Scalawags: Rogues, Roustabouts, Wags & Scamps: Brazen Ne’er-Do-Wells Through the AgesWhat is a scalawag? Through his entries on con men and women, gamblers and adventurers through history, Jim Christy separates the true scalawags from the imposters. Each brief biography is three to six pages long and details the adventures of notable scalawags such as Tallulah Bankhead, William Beckford, Lady Jane Digby and Alfred “Lash” LaRue. Scalawags collects Christy’s columns in NUVO magazine.
Christy is a writer, artist and actor.
Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2009-2010.
Other titles by Jim Christy
Rough Road to the North
A Vagabond on the Great Northern Highway
Rogues, Rascals, and Scalawags Too
More Ne'er-Do-Wells Through the Ages
Bad Day for Ralphie
Stories: New and Selected
The Big Thirst
And Other Doggone Poems
This Cockeyed World
121 Takes From a Tin Box