The King Who Made Paper Flowers

The King Who Made Paper Flowers

by Terry Kay

Overview: When Arthur Benjamin steps from a Greyhound bus in Savannah, Georgia, he is immediately robbed by an affable street magician named Hamby Cahill. It is Hamby's first act of thievery and the remorse of it so overwhelms him that he finds lodging for Arthur in The Castle, a warehouse supposedly owned by an eccentric and fragile grande dame of imagined aristocracy who is known as Lady to the strange assembly of street people she has arbitrarily selected to be her Guests. There, Arthur finds his family—an ex-con shoplifter, a disgruntled seamstress, a young artist suspected of being a hooker, and a former boxer. For Arthur, it is the company that will change his life, as he will change the lives of everyone he encounters. Yet, he does not know he will be looked upon by the people of Savannah as a beloved figure who wears a cape of invented royalty and distributes paper flowers made of cocktail napkins as gifts of comfort. Arthur knows only that he has found his place and his purpose.

Deanna Boe (12/13/18): Do you want to read a novel that will make you smile? This is an absolutely delightful book, even though the subject matter could be grim, since it is about homeless people in Savannah, Georgia. This author has such a wonderful style of writing that I immediately went back to the library to discover more of his novels. What a talent, he reminds me of other great southern writers, i.e. Pat Conroy or Ann Rivers Siddon. Kay’s style simply flows, you can hear the southern accent, and you don’t want to put it down.

Have you ever been to a bus station? Does it make you feel comfortable and not worried about being robbed? Obviously that was the case with Arthur Benjamin when he stepped off the bus in Savannah. Unfortunately he was greeted by an easygoing man, who just so happened to be a magician, by the name of Hamby Cahill. Arthur, unfortunately, stumbled when he was getting off the bus and Hamby caught him and in so doing just “happened” to quickly remove the money he saw peeking out of Author’s wallet. This was the first time Hamby had ever stolen anything and it left him feeling guilty the rest of the day.

Later Hamby was able to make things right by bringing Arthur to the warehouse (better known as the “Castle”) where he lives with several other homeless people. The main person is a woman, who actually owns the “Castle”, and is known as Lady. What is the most incredible part of the story is how Arthur’s life is just about to begin. Arthur happens to have a talent for making flowers out of cocktail paper napkins. They are beautiful flowers and immediately set him apart from the rest of the homeless people in Savannah. These flowers show everyone what a gentle, kind, and marvelous man Arthur really is. Before we know it, Arthur has become a much loved and celebrated individual, which appalls the mayor who is trying to be re-elected.

This is a story of how one person can make a difference to all those around him and beyond. It is easily read and simply a delight. At the end of the story you really wish there were more people like Arthur.
Rating: ****+

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