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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
From the author of The Notorious Dr. August and Father of Frankenstein comes this polished, penetrating, and very funny novel that skewers the New York theater scene and illuminates the contrast of gay and straight lifestyles.
Playwright Caleb Doyle suffers through deep-set writer's block, even as his sister Jessie finds success as the assistant to British actor Henry Lewse, the openly gay star of a ludicrous Broadway musical. As Henry dotes on the handsome but dull-witted Toby Vogler, Toby pines for Caleb. Jessie has her own problems as the love object of director Frank Earp, whose floundering career has reduced him to staging children's plays off-off-off-Broadway. The secrets and heartaches of these many unfulfilled romances, unions, and associations unfold during the course of Caleb's bizarre birthday bash, where his pistol-packin' grandma causes even more mayhem.
The heavy themes of AIDS, sexual addiction, and unrequited love are expertly blended into the mix of slick humor and satire. Bram skillfully weaves together all the outlandish characters and their even more eccentric affairs, showing how all of them have a love-hate relationship with the theater, with each other, and with their own creative impulses. At turns graceful, shrewd, and ribald, Lives of the Circus Animals is terrific entertainment, steeped in the authentic details of theater life. This talented author's laugh-out-loud dialogue, burlesque situations, and shrewd insight into the vagaries of love are sure to win him an even more extensive readership. Tom Piccirilli