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.
"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."—Good Reads
"[The Circus of Dr. Lao, Second Edition is] a splendid fable of a miserable-looking little circus that visits a dusty Arizona town and leaves an unforgettable impression."—Nick Owchar, Los Angeles Times Books Blog
Los Angeles Times Books Blog
“The Circus of Dr. Lao is a fascinating work: a labyrinth of meanings and images that sucks in the imagination, teases it and impishly plays with it. It gives nothing away, but offers much sustenance to those willing to take the risk of stepping into the tents housing its bizarre attractions.”—Locus Online