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Leo@fergusrules.comLeoCover.GIF (35736 bytes)

          by Arne Tangherlini
                       With an Afterword by Pagan Kennedy

The New York Public Library
BEST OF 1999

The American Library Association

Best Fiction Title of the Year
The Firecracker Alternative
Book Award

Leonora (Leo) is an Italian/Asian/American teen-ager with a rotten attitude and a genius I.Q. Thrown out of twelve schools and fluent in as many languages, she's sent to live with her grandmother in the Philippines, where she spends all her time in a computer environment called Apeiron - a parasitic virtual reality program which drove its mad creator to dive headlong into a gorge. Only in Apeiron can Leo shed the awkward body of an adolescent girl and emerge in the persona of Fergus, the warrior; only in Apeiron can she hobnob with Socrates and John Lennon. But one day the only boy she's ever liked disappears, and Leo, in a quest to rescue him, finds herself lured into the program's computer generated hell. A post-modern tilt at Alice in Wonderland, a computer-age Huckleberry Finn, leo@fergusrules.com is above all the story of a young woman's search for the lost world of her ancestors in a society in which technology has replaced community.

       "Leo @ fergusrulesrules.com is a fantastical coming of age story about a brainy, racially mixed teenage girl…who spends much of her spare time in her bedroom, jacked into a cyber wonderland called Apeiron. This computer-generated 3-D world is a timeless landscape, home to a historical line-up of digitally re-created dignitaries, such as Confucius, Julius Caesar and Napoleon… She also encounters relatives and ancestors, including her great aunt, who as a young woman survives being shot by American soldiers in the Philippine American War. Other dangers include pterodactyls with giant Barbie-doll bodies that dump guano and screech, 'Nike, Guess, Benetton, Levi's! Tommy, Tommy, Tommy-boy!" and a child-steamrollering Zamboni that is operated by gnomelike people and has a control room guarded by a three-headed dog. Needless to say, Leo is a trip…a 21st century homage to the works of Argentine poet and author Jorge Luis Borges and to other classics, such as Alice in Wonderland, The Odyssey and Dante's Inferno."

                                  USA Today

 "Tangherlini succeeds wonderfully with his postmodern coming-of-age story. leo@fergusrules.com pays enormous tribute to Dante's Inferno, but Tangherlini has created his own unique and sophisticated masterpiece."

                              - Library Journal

"Remarkably inventive. In a posthumous first novel, Arne Tangherlini reveals a playful intellect worthy of Umberto Eco and Lewis Carroll. leo@fergusrules.com will probably be compared to another first - and last - novel, John Kennedy Toole's Confederacy of the Dunces... but leo@fergusrules.com is more fun...A literary construct, a fiction within a fiction inspired by Jorge Luis Borges...a pleasure."

                              - Book Magazine

"Alice in Cyberland! With uncommon energy and sophistication, Arne Tangherlini's LEO deploys a fantastical vehicle to speak movingly of its young heroine's difficult coming of age. A brilliant and engaging first novel."

                               - John Barth

"I wasn't in store for such a good book. If ever a writer's reputation can be established just with one published work, this one's it. In a nutshell it's one helluva novel: vibrant, vital, energetic, polished, quick, funny, rich, imaginative, sad and powerful and original. It's also something most first novels aren't: deeply intelligent, eminently readable, highly exotic, and practically flawless."

                                - Stephen Dixon

"Leo@fergusrules.com reminds me of the novels I loved as a kid, Narnia, Alice, Phantom Tollbooth - books that are secret gardens, with pages that whisper of other worlds. And yet, because of its literary allusions (Borges, Eco, Dante et. al.) and challenging ideas, it definitely belongs in the adult section. The narrator, a hormone-addled teen girl, dons a virtual-reality visor and goes off on a heroic journey that would make Joseph Campbell's head spin. On the way, she encounters mythological beasts from her Philippine grandmother's stories, a gaggle of mall rats, and a Zamboni ice-cleaner that's a portal to another dimension. Leo@fergusrules.com is a bit like a virtual-reality visor itself - disorienting, new, and utterly diverting.

                                - Pagan Kennedy

"An engagingly suggestive, and sometimes entrancing exploration of what it means to grow up today amidst technological changes that become, finally, instruments of psychological turmoil and growth."

                                 - Robert Coles

Arne Tangherlini received his A.B. in History and Literature from Harvard and his M.A. from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. He was a teacher for many years both in the Philippines and the United States and the co-author of Smart Kids: How Academic Talents are Nurtured and Developed in America.

Also available as a Rocket e-book
ISBN 0-9654578-0-X

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$14.95 Paperback Original
ISBN: 0-9654578-7-7
216 Pages / 5 x 7 3/4

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