Format: Trade Paperback, 224 pages
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
ISBN: 978-0-7710-1278-5 (0-7710-1278-0)
Pub Date: April 8, 2014
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A dazzling collection of award-winning stories with the emotional punch, sharp wit, and disarming charm of Rebecca Lee, Karen Russell, Neil Smith, and Jessica Grant.
Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! Step right up and prepare to be dazzled by this delightful debut from Claire Battershill, winner of the CBC Literary Award, co-winner of the Canadian Authors Association’s Emerging Writer Award, and finalist for the inaugural PEN International/New Voices Award. As they transport us from a crowded airport departure lounge to the stillness of the British Museum, and from the spectacle of the Winter Olympics to the modesty of a local Miniatureland, these radiant stories explore the often surprising things we’re willing to do for love and human connection. Fed up with his long history of failed blind dates, a shy English bureaucrat gives himself thirty-one days to find love on the Internet. A father buys his daughter a blue plastic tent to ready her for outdoor adventure, but neither is prepared when the tent becomes a neighbourhood sensation. The world of competitive sports provides the backdrop for a young man’s coming of age in “Two-Man Luge: A Love Story.” And in the award-winning title story, the granddaughter of a former circus performer (who played the role of a man-wrestling bear) finds herself grappling with the capriciousness of life and love.
At once witty, tender-hearted, and profound, these stories are filled with a memorable and all-too-human cast of characters on the cusp of enormous change – whether they’re ready or not. Written in spare yet startling language, Circus is a beautiful reminder that sometimes everyday life can be the greatest show on Earth.
“Claire Battershill can’t tame lions or swallow swords, but she can do something much more difficult: capture in words the joy, magic, weirdness, and sorrow that is modern life. Circus is the kind of book you’ll want to run away with.”
–Neil Smith, author of Bang Crunch
“Battershill’s writing transforms the world, revealing something previously overlooked and at the same time essential. This is beautiful, timely work.”
–Andrew Kaufman, author of Born Weird
“Each of the stories in this collection stands alone as a unique and daring ‘act.’ Claire Battershill’s stories are unafraid to throw themselves into the tension contained even in the most ordinary moments. They will surprise and delight you.”
–Johanna Skibsrud, Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning author of The Sentimentalists
"'Circus' has a wry, restrained, intelligent, and self-deprecating voice. And in its understated way it captures the odd and closeted reflections of a young woman teetering through the world." -- CBC Literary Award jury citation from Heather O'Neill, Shyam Selvadurai, and David Bergen
CLAIRE BATTERSHILL won the 2008 CBC Literary Award for Short Fiction for the title story from her debut collection, Circus, and was recently named the co-winner of the 2013 Canadian Authors Association's Emerging Writer Award. She was a Junior Fellow and apprentice printer at Massey College, and, in 2008, she was a research assistant for Margaret Atwood's Massey Lectures, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth. Battershill has a PhD in English Literature and Book History, and has taught English and Creative Writing at the University of Toronto and the Ontario College of Art and Design. Born in Dawson Creek, B.C., in 1986, she has lived in Vancouver, Victoria, and Toronto. She now lives in London, England, where she teaches at the University of Reading.
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