Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Trailer Park Tuesday: Orphans of the Carnival by Carol Birch

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.

     This is where your lost toys went, the one the dog chewed, the one your mother threw out without asking when you left home, the ones you always wondered about.
     The island says: bring me your lost, your scorned, forgotten masses, bring me your maimed and ridiculous, bring me so much as a finger or a toe and I’ll take you in. Be you ever so grotesque or beauty sublime, it’s all the same to me. Everyone’s allowed in. Doesn’t matter who you were or what your story, doesn’t matter what state you’re in. You could’ve been smashed to smithereens, even your broken bits are welcome here.
From these opening sentences onward, Orphans of the Carnival, the new novel by Carol Birch, asks us to look beyond the superficial, beneath the skin, below the grotesque. These are particularly pertinent words in this new nation under Trump. We may label the unfamiliar ones among us “freaks,” but aren’t we all deformed in some way or another? Orphans of the Carnival centers around Julia, a 19th-century woman with an “utterly unusual face,” who is put on display in a touring show. The trailer, with its soft carnival music and flickering questions, offers a good tease of the book without giving too much away. In the end, this minute-long video does make me want to “look closer.”

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