31. The Circus of Dr. Lao: Charles G. Finney

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31. The Circus of Dr. Lao: Charles G. Finney

Post  Patguy on Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:00 am

An inexplicable little fantasy from 1935. A circus visits the small town of Abalone, Arizona, and the townies spend a hundred or so pages being alternately fascinated and mystified by the exhibits: a sea serpent, a Medusa, a sphinx, a werewolf, and something that might be a bear or a Russian, all overseen by the mysterious and smooth-talking Dr. Lao. Then the final show, a pagan phantasmagoria ending in a vision of human sacrifice. Then everyone goes home, but the reader is left a twenty-page Borgesian catalogue of the novel’s elements, arranged in the following categories:

I. The Male Characters
II. The Female Characters
III. The Child Characters
IV. The Animals
V. The Gods and Goddesses
VI. The Cities
VII. The Statuettes, Figurines, Icons, Artifacts, and Idols
VIII. The Questions and Contradictions and Obscurities
IX. The Foodstuffs

So there we are.

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