“Things sure do happen to you,” says an aunt to little six-year-old Jimmy Christinzio, after a Hollywood cowboy tried to shoot him with real bullets. Little Jimmy grew up to be writer and raconteur Jim Christy, who has rambled the planet meeting royalty and rounders and everything in between. In Jackpots he collects fragments from the pages of an extraordinary life, sketching the memorable characters and remarkable adventures that destiny threw his way. From his youth in the mean streets of South Philadelphia and brushes with the mob, to jobs on the carnival circuit, to arriving in Canada during the Vietnam era and more recent travels in search of wild elephants, the chapters of Jackpots trace a fascinating journey in colourful Christy style. Combining the toughness of Elmore Leonard and the moral integrity of Raymond Chandler, Jim Christy chronicles life’s surprises and coincidences with humour, heart and vision. In Jackpots the reader encounters mob boss Tony Amsterdam, firebreather Marcel Horne, Leland, the alligator man, and cowboy side-kick Fuzzy St. John. Richly peopled with elegant riffraff, rogues and saints, the stories of Jackpots are sharp as a nail and pack a hammer’s wallop – true tales that read like pure fiction.
Jim Christy grew up in Philadelphia, led a knockabout life in the United States which included carnivals, hoboing, and professional boxing, was involved in radical politics and moved to Canada in 1968. As well as being a writer, he is also a widely exhibited visual artist and has recorded CDs of poetry and music and performed in various countries. His travels have taken him from the Yukon to the Amazon, Greenland to Cambodia. The author of more than twenty books, including poetry, short stories, novels, travel and biography, Christy has been praised by writers as diverse as Charles Bukowski and Sparkle Hayter. Recent books include the novel The Redemption of Anna Dupree (Ekstasis, 2004) and the nonfiction book Scalawags (2008).
5 x 8