Henry Darger: Background information when reading Curious Toys

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Curious Toys

by Elizabeth Hand

Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand X
Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2019, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2020, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jordan Lynch
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About this Book

Henry Darger

This article relates to Curious Toys

Watercolor collage by Henry DargerIn Curious Toys, the main character, Pin, investigates the murder of a young girl in the Riverview Amusement Park in Chicago in 1915. Only one other person witnessed the girl's disappearance, a strange, shambling man named Henry Darger. Pin is fictional, but Darger is based on a real person who became famous posthumously as an artist and writer.

Henry Darger was born in Chicago in 1892. When he was four years old, his mother died giving birth to a baby girl, who was immediately put up for adoption. The separation from his sister is believed to have deeply affected Darger. He did not get along well with other children growing up, and was often violent with them. At age eight, he was placed in a boy's home where he lived for four years before being transferred to the Asylum for Feeble-Minded Children in Lincoln, Illinois. This asylum was known to be corrupt, and it's likely that Darger suffered abuse during his time there. When he was 17, Darger's father's death prompted him to run ...

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