Vladivostok Circus - Elisa Shua Dusapin

Vladivostok Circus - Elisa Shua Dusapin

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Tonight is the opening night. There are birds perched everywhere, on the power lines, the guy ropes, the strings of light that festoon the tent ... when I think of all those little bodies suspended between earth and sky, it makes me smile to remind myself that for some of them, their first flight begins with a fall.

Nathalie arrives at the circus in Vladivostok, Russia, fresh out of fashion school in Geneva. She is there to design the costumes for a trio of artists who are due to perform one of the most dangerous acts of all- the Russian Bar.

As winter approaches, the season at Vladivostok is winding down, leaving the windy port city empty as the performers rush off to catch trains, boats, and buses home; all except the Russian bar trio and their manager. They are scheduled to perform at a festival in Ulan Ude, just before Christmas.

What ensues is an intimate and beguiling account of four people learning to work with and trust one another. This is a book about the delicate balance that must be achieved when flirting with death in such spectacular fashion, set against the backdrop of a cloudy ocean and immersing the reader in Dusapin's trademark dreamlike prose.

'Frames human understanding as a series of leaps and falls, as we swoop, somersault, twist, and turn to make ourselves understood. Dusapin has perfected the art of these spare, inward-looking novellas.'
-Financial Times

'Dusapin's beautiful prose, with imagery both metallic and mineral, insinuates its way towards a delicate empathy between the generations, as well as examining the confusion that comes with dual nationality, and the lifetime loss that is exile.'
-Irish Times

'A quiet, meditative story of shared endeavour. Though gentle, its emotional complexity means it is Dusapin's most accomplished work yet ... Dusapin deftly conveys the way intimacy and routine are established, physical space shared, and how moments of creativity and connection occur ... Vladivostok Circus is about people trying to work and create together and the solidarity and friendship that shared endeavour can foster.'
-The Guardian