The Pickle Index is full of life and everything else—it’s rowdy and sweaty and heartbreaking, and by heartbreaking I mean funny, and by funny I mean laugh-until-you’re-exhausted-and-leaking-and-hungry.” —Miranda July

The Pickle Index

Eli Horowitz


Zloty Kornblatt is the hapless ringmaster of an even more hapless circus troupe. But one fateful night, Zloty makes a mistake: he accidentally makes his audience laugh. Here on the outskirts of Burford—where both the cuisine and the economy, such as they are, are highly dependent upon pickled vegetables—laughter is a rare occasion. It draws the immediate attention of the local bureaucracy, and by morning Zloty has been branded an “instigator, conspirator, and fomentor” and been locked away in the capital’s tallest tower, the Confinement Needle.

His only hope lies with his dysfunctional troupe: a morose contortionist, a strongman who’d rather be miming, a lion tamer paired with an elderly dog… As the performers rouse themselves to spring their leader from his cell, their arcane skills become strangely useful. Unlikely success follows unlikely success until, suddenly, it doesn’t… and it’s left to Flora Bialy, Zloty’s understudy and our shy narrator, to save the day.

Punctuated with evocative woodcuts by Ian Huebert, The Pickle Index is a fast-moving fable, full of deadpan humor and absurd twists—and also an exhilarating and innovative, incomparable storytelling experience.

You know when you find a book that feels original and fresh and weird in just the right way? The Pickle Index is such a book. Eli Horowitz has created a carnival world a little like that amazing place Katherine Dunn took us to in Geek Love. But this book has more laughs. It’s a crazy caper!
—Arthur Bradford


About Eli Horowitz

Eli Horowitz is the coauthor of The Silent History, The Clock Without a Face and Everything You Know Is Pong. Previously, he was the managing editor and then publisher of McSweeney’s. He lives in Northern California.

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