The Circus in Winter by Cathy Day

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From 1884 to 1939, the Great Porter Circus made the unlikely choice to winter in an Indiana town called Lima, a place that feels as classic as Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, and as wondrous as a first trip to the Big Top. In Lima an elephant can change the course of a man's life-or the manner of his death. Jennie Dixianna entices men with her dazzling Spin of Death and keeps them in line with secrets locked in a cedar box. The lonely wife of the show's manager has each room of her house painted like a sideshow banner, indulging her desperate passion for a young painter. And a former clown seeks consolation from his loveless marriage in his post-circus job at Clown Alley Cleaners. Cathy Day follows the circus people into their everyday lives and brings the greatest show on earth to the page.

About Cathy Day

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CATHY DAY grew up in Peru, Indiana, once the winter homem of several circuses. One of her great-uncles was the worlds fastest ticket taker, another was an elephant trainer. She lives in Ewing, New Jersey, and teaches at The College of New Jersey.
Published July 6, 2005 by Mariner Books. 304 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Day's wise, warmhearted debut reveals the private lives and secret yearnings of clowns, acrobats, and pinheads as they interact with the locals in a circus's midwestern off-season home.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Circus in Winter

Publishers Weekly

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Day's debut collection spins graceful, elegant circles around the inhabitants of Lima, Ind.—especially the acrobats, clowns and circus folk of the Great Porter Circus who spent their winters there from 1884 to 1939.

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Entertainment Weekly

Is there a more seductive and ghostly phrase than ''circus in .

Jun 25 2004 | Read Full Review of The Circus in Winter


Unlike most circus books, Cathy Day's first novel, The Circus in Winter, unfolds not on the midway but along the permeable border between circus people and their small-town fans.

Jul 26 2004 | Read Full Review of The Circus in Winter

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