The Circus of the Earth and the Air
During their summer vacation on an island off the coast of New England, Alex Barton watches his wife, Iris, swim in the calm, blue-green sea: “Looking out at the water, staring at the reflection of blue that his wife had become, he thought of how much he loved her and how strange and lucky it was that they were together.” Later, beyond the dunes, they come across a circus tent, where as price of admission Iris, an actress, volunteers for a disappearing act. After she steps into a box and the box is set on fire, she vanishes, and by the next morning the circus itself has disappeared without a trace.
To find her, Alex sets out on a mesmerizing journey to a fantastical island—owned by one of the great circus masters of Europe—where he believes the woman he loves is held hostage. In this existential realm of performers and soldiers, strong men and contortionists, trapeze artists and clowns, dreams and nightmares, Alex—tortured, tempted, analyzed—sheds his identity and gains a new one, as a tightrope walker whose strength is his vulnerability. The haunting, elusive world of the circus will lead him from Mississippi to New Hampshire to find what may, or may not, be the truth about his wife and himself.
The Circus of the Earth and the Air is a gripping and magical debut in which the circus—primitive, metaphysical, religious, violent—reveals the very essence of performance, of loneliness, and of love.