Jilly Farina is fourteen, but so small that she wears younger kids' clothes. Her father is drunk on the day of the Barnstable County Fair, so she goes by herself, and by that night her life has been transformed. When she walks into a tent to see Millroy the Magician, his eyes lighten from brown to green and fasten upon her. He performs miracles in front of Jilly's spellbound eyes and tells her he wants to eat her. He spirits her into his trailer, and fer the first time in her forlorn young life, Jilly feels safe. He tells her that he has command over nine bodily functions, that he will train her to be his assistant, and that he will give her a sequined costume.
But this is only the beginning. Millroy is a man like no other, a magician not simply of mere conjuring, but of true baffling magic. He is a healer too, a vegetarian and health fanatic with a mission to change the eating habits of his beloved United States. In search of the perfect platform, he finds it in television as an evangelical preacher, touting hygiene and the simple pure foods mentioned in the Bible. From fairground magician to cult leader, Millroy is unstoppable.
In his portrait of a man who is part genius, part eccentric, and part miracle worker, and of is complex and uneasy relationship with young Jilly, Paul Theroux has created a remarkable parable of America today. A work of breathtaking imagination and resonance, Millroy the Magician displays the author at the height of his fictional powers, and in Jilly and Millroy he has created two truly unforgettable characters.