As an eight-year old confined to bed because of a preternatural growing spurt, Edward Bloom occupies himself by reading the entire World Book Encyclopedia. He is taken in particular with an article about goldfish, in which he learns that "if goldfish are kept in a small bowl, they will remain small. With more space, the fish can double, triple or quadruple its size." Ten years later, after becoming one of the most popular young men in Ashton, Alabama, he realizes that--like the goldfish--in order for him to grow he must leave home and explore the world. And thus, an improbable and mythic journey begins. Many years and countless adventures later, Bloom is well known as a teller of tall tales about his colorful life as a less than ordinary young man, when his wanderlust took him around the world and back again. His mythic exploits range from the delightful to the surreal, interweaving epic sagas about giants and werewolves, conjoined Korean lounge singers, a witch with a glass eye that can see the future--and of course, a big fish that refuses to be caught. Bloom's fabled stories charm everyone he encounters except his son Will, who has also left home but in this case to get out from under his father's considerable shadow. When Edward becomes ill and his wife, Sandra, tries to reconcile them, Will embarks on his own personal journey trying to separate the myth from the reality of his father's life and come to terms with the man's giant feats and great failings.