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Our narrator, a retired musician, receives a visit from an enigmatic stranger who inspires him to share the story of his long and stormy life. We listen spellbound as he tells of a happy country childhood brutally cut short by World War II; harsh schooling in an institution for orphaned children; his experiences as an electrician on postwar building sites; life abroad playing saxophone in a dance band; and an eventual return to a childhood home transformed by the tempestuous century he has lived through. Replete with drama, mystery, wisdom, and humor, and told in the grand oral tradition of Mysliwski’s celebrated Stone Upon Stone, the novel’s masterfully interwoven stories and anecdotes build into a magnificent portrait of a man and his times. By turns poignant and hilarious, A Treatise on Shelling Beans is an epic recounting of a life that is anything but ordinary.