O. Henry wove several stories together into this highly episodic narrative, his only novel, taking his title and inspiration from Lewis Carroll's ballad of the walrus and the carpenter in
Through the Looking-Glass.
The stories are set in the fictional country of Anchuria in Central America, a banana republic where larceny is rampant and revolution lurks in every impoverished back alley. O. Henry offers a cutting satire of contemporary politics and prejudices. Nevertheless, an essential middle-class morality prevails, in which lovers are reunited, poverty obliterated, character rewarded, and sentiment satisfied.
"Lloyd James navigates this murky area admirably, de-emphasizing the crude name-calling by voicing it largely without malice. He simply speaks the vernacular as naturally as he creates the characters' accents. James' agile pacing and overall breezy approach work favorably." (
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