LIVES OF THE CIRCUS ANIMALS

Christopher Bram, Author . Morrow $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-054253-5

Clever stage satire and compassionate character writing distinguish this heady, humorous New York theater novel by the author of The Notorious Mr. August and Father of Frankenstein (which was made into the Academy Award–winning film Gods and Monsters). The title (a Yeats reference) effectively conveys the fondness and gentle derision with which Bram presents his ensemble cast. Henry Lewse is a prominent British actor starring in a musical, but preoccupied with sex. His latest find is Toby Vogler, a good-looking, not terribly bright young man, honored to have the attention of a star, but too earnest to provide full satisfaction ("Why am I such bad sex?" he sobs). Toby is longing for Caleb Doyle, a playwright whose first stage success was followed by the immediate and ignominious failure of his second. Caleb's sister, Jessica, is also a theater enthusiast and works as Henry's assistant. She is loved by Frank Earp, a rather bedraggled director who has come to terms with the limits of his career, directing schoolchildren and off-off-off-Broadway plays (his current show is staged in an apartment). Presiding gloomily over the rest of the cast is Kenneth Prager ("The Buzzard of Off-Broadway"), the Times reviewer who shot down Caleb's play. After much acting, gossip, psychoanalysis and sex (mostly inept), all come together at Caleb's big-finale birthday party. As he proved in Father of Frankenstein, Bram has a sophisticated understanding of celebrity and the intersection of gay and straight worlds. His savvy—and his easy familiarity with the New York theater scene—gives edge and nuance to this witty entertainment. Agent, Edward Hibbert. (Oct. 1)

Forecast:After his sweeping historical novel The Notorious Dr. August, Bram returns to a smaller canvas. Fans of Father of Frankenstein(and Gods and Monsters) will be pleased, as will Waugh and Wodehouse readers who recognize the British comedy of manners lurking inside this American theater satire.

Reviewed on: 09/01/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-06-054254-2
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-134192-2
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 352 pages - 978-0-06-134190-8
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-185652-5
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-134187-8
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