By Charles G. Finney
Foreword by John Marco
New introduction by Michael Martone
Illustrated by Boris Artzybasheff
paperback • 176 pages • 6 x 9 • illustrations
Abalone, Arizona, is a sleepy southwestern town whose chief concerns are boredom and surviving the Great Depression—that is, until the circus of Dr. Lao arrives and immensely and irrevocably changes the lives of everyone drawn to its tents.
Expecting a sideshow spectacle, the citizens of Abalone instead confront and learn profound lessons from the mythical made real—a chimera, a Medusa, a talking sphinx, a sea serpent, witches, the Hound of the Hedges, a werewolf, a mermaid, an ancient god, and the elusive, ever-changing Dr. Lao himself. The circus unfolds, spinning magical, dark strands that ensnare the town's populace: the sea serpent's tale shatters love's illusions; the fortune-teller's shocking pronouncements toll the tedium and secret dread of every person's life; sensual undercurrents pour forth for men and women alike; and the dead walk again.
Dazzling and macabre, literary and philosophical, The Circus of Dr. Lao has been acclaimed as a masterpiece of speculative fiction and influenced such writers as Ray Bradbury.
Charles G. Finney (1905–84) was a newspaperman and writer based in Arizona. John Marco is the author of the Tyrants and Kings series. Michael Martone is a professor of English at the University of Alabama and the author or editor of numerous books. Boris Artzybasheff (1899–1965) was a surrealist illustrator who was best known for his magazine art.
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