Is the story told by a bald, hunchback female dwarf, crippled not by her physical condition as much as she is by love and the ties that bind. Born into a tight family of circus freaks, deliberately being manufactured by their ‘normal’ parents via the consumption of poisons during pregnancy, the story is of the dissolution of the family. What I learned was that love, as one of the great themes, can still be presented in a fresh way. In the twisted maelstrom of the circus and the cult it becomes due to her limbless brother’s megalomania, love is central to everything. Realising that theme completes the reader’s experience of the story. Meandering with a broken, non-linear narrative, it also paints the world of the circus in broad brush strokes, with the reader left to fill in the many gaps – not a conventional or ‘proper’ approach but, with just the occasional finer strokes illuminating one or another aspect, it works.
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