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A stormy night in 1813. Two babies are born to prostitutes. One child is a healthy girl; the other, a hideously deformed boy.
This is the picaresque fable of the love that growsbetween the mute monster Hercules, who possesses the power to read minds, and the beautifulHenriette -- a love that will entwine their fates forever.
Carl-Johan Vallgren paints a cast of grotesqueries in a magical and atmospheric tour of nineteenth-century Europe: the swags and tails of the Bordello, where Hercules is born; the squalor of the asylum, where he finds only pain; the sinister grandeur of the Jesuit monasteries in which he finds both shelter and peril; and the phantasmagoria of the freak show with which he travels.
"The Horrific Sufferings of the Mind-Reading MonsterHercules Barefoot "tells a tale of social oppression, official corruption, and religious persecution, but is, at its heart, an amazing love story. Moving, uplifting, at times dark and macabre, this novel stretches the bounds of imagination, presenting the bizarre as the everyday and leading you through it like a child wide-eyed in wonder at a carnival.
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