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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Welcome to Lima (pronounced like the bean) Indiana, a town unlike other small midwestern towns in one very important respect: Here, the circus came to spend the winter months. Every fall, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, brightly painted trains would roll in, unloading animals and circus people alike into a large compound of barns, bunkhouses, cages, and paddocks on the outskirts of town. Elephants bathed in the river, big cats roared at the rain, and clowns, acrobats, and showmen drank whiskey around the campfire.
In a series of interwoven vignettes spanning three generations, Cathy Day paints a heartfelt portrait of performers both human and animal. "Jennie Dixianna" performs her trademark "Spin of Death"; Caesar the elephant is mistreated in life by his cruel trainers and misrepresented in death by those who believe their lies; and phony circus "freaks" ponder the effects of their exploitation and public humiliation.
The Circus in Winter is the story of a town where history's indelible imprint is found on modern life. While traveling shows are less common today, the impetus to wander remains, which makes Day's historically based fiction a careful yet marvelous study of human nature seen through the eyes of those who traveled with their "family" through a world in which they were always strangers. (Fall 2004 Selection)