With this wildly inventive and funny novel, Percival Everett has created his unlikeliest hero to date. Mute by choice but able to read complex philosophical treatises and ponder the worth (not much) of Derrida and Barthes, baby Ralph is considered mentally 'challenged' by his father. On discovery of his unusual talents, however, there is soon a whole host of people eager for a stake in this child prodigy. Among the most fiendish are Dr Steimell, the psychiatrist; Dr Davis and her illegal chimps; and Nana, the secret agent. All have plans for baby Ralph who misses his mother terribly and doesn't warm to his role as 'Defence Stealth Operative 1369'. As the pursuit of Ralph across America gathers pace we are treated to intellectual conundrums and words of wisdom that perhaps only a baby could dream up.