The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip

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From the bestselling author of Tenth of December comes a splendid new edition of his acclaimed collaboration with the illustrator behind The Stinky Cheese Man and James and the Giant Peach! Featuring fifty-two haunting and hilarious images, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip is a modern fable for people of all ages that touches on the power of kindness, generosity, compassion, and community.
 
In the seaside village of Frip live three families: the Romos, the Ronsens, and a little girl named Capable and her father. The economy of Frip is based solely on goat’s milk, and this is a problem because the village is plagued by gappers: bright orange, many-eyed creatures the size of softballs that love to attach themselves to goats. When a gapper gets near a goat, it lets out a high-pitched shriek of joy that puts the goats off giving milk, which means that every few hours the children of Frip have to go outside, brush the gappers off their goats, and toss them into the sea. The gappers have always been everyone’s problem, until one day they get a little smarter, and instead of spreading out, they gang up: on Capable’s goats. Free at last of the tyranny of the gappers, will her neighbors rally to help her? Or will they turn their backs, forcing Capable to bear the misfortune alone?
 
Featuring fifty-two haunting and hilarious illustrations by Lane Smith and a brilliant story by George Saunders that explores universal themes of community and kindness, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip is a rich and resonant story for those that have all and those that have not.

Praise for The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip

“In a perfect world, every child would own a copy of this profound, funny fable. . . . Every adult would own a copy too, and would marvel at how this smart, subversive little book is even deeper and more hilarious than any child could know.”Entertainment Weekly
 
“Saunders’s idiosyncratic voice makes an almost perfect accompaniment to children’s book illustrator Smith’s heightened characterizations and slightly surreal backdrops.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“A riveting, funny, and sly new fairy tale.”Miami Herald

Praise

Praise for George Saunders
 
“No one writes more powerfully than George Saunders.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
 
“Saunders makes you feel as though you are reading fiction for the first time.”—Khaled Hosseini
 
“George Saunders is a complete original. . . . There is no one better, no one more essential to our national sense of self and sanity.”—Dave Eggers
 
“Not since Twain has America produced a satirist this funny.”—Zadie Smith
 
Praise for The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip
 
“In a perfect world, every child would own a copy of this profound, funny fable. . . . Every adult would own a copy too, and would marvel at how this smart, subversive little book is even deeper and more hilarious than any child could know.”Entertainment Weekly
 
“Saunders’s idiosyncratic voice makes an almost perfect accompaniment to children’s book illustrator Smith’s heightened characterizations and slightly surreal backdrops.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“A riveting, funny, and sly new fairy tale.”Miami Herald

Excerpt

Ever Had a Burr in Your Sock?

A gapper's like that, only bigger, about the size of a baseball, bright orange, with multiple eyes like a potato.  And gappers love goats.  When a gapper gets near a goat it gives off a continual high-pitched happy shriek of pleasure that makes it impossible for the goat to sleep, and the goats gets skinny and stop giving milk.  And in towns that survive by selling goat-milk, if there's no goat-milk, there's no money, and if there's no money, there's no food or housing or clothing, and so on, in gapper-infested towns. since nobody likes the idea of starving naked outdoors, it is necessary at all costs to keep the gappers off the goats.

Such a town was Frip.

Frip was three leaning shacks by the sea.  Frip was three tiny goats-yards into which eight times a day the children of the shacks would trudge with gapper brushes and cloth gapper-sacks that tied at the top.  After brushing the gappers off the goats, the children would walk to a cliff at the edge of town and empty their gapper-sacks into the sea.

The gappers would sink to the bottom and immediately begin inching their way across the ocean floor, and three hours later would arrive again at Frip and split into three groups, one per house, only to be brushed off again by the same weary and discouraged children, who would stumble home and fall into their little beds for a few hours of sleep, dreaming, if they dreamed at all, of gappers putting them into sacks and dropping them into the sea.

In the shack closest to the sea lived a girl named Capable.

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