cover image Night Circus

Night Circus

Etienne Delessert. Creative Editions, $19.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56846-277-6

This haunting collection of paintings represents Delessert (A Glass) at his most introspective, as he records the capricious activity of his own unconscious. “On a calm September evening, I was walking my dog along Route 44 when headlights flashed in front of me. My cat Pluto was driving past in an antique racing car, slowly pulling ten old-fashioned wooden flatbeds.” The 10 visions, like demented parade floats, seem to leap out of the pitch-black night. The first pictures Kafka, Beckett, and Ionesco as clowns: “My friend, do you read poetry?” they ask. Angels around a chessboard ponder the pieces, small humans: “Want to play with us?” A lion leaps through a ring of fire: “Can you feel the heat?” After the others pass—fairy-tale characters, acrobats, imaginary creatures—Delessert and his dog follow them into the desert, toward a mirage. “Want to play now?” someone asks. “I approached the lion and his ring of fire. We lit a candle. It was my night circus!” The slow-motion encounter between the artist and the bright-eyed, grinning creatures of his own imagination is one readers won’t soon forget. Ages 6–up. (Apr.)