Circus Parade

Mark Dawidziak
Circus Paradebtn-amazon-buy Based on his time as a circus laborer, Circus Parade presents the sordid side of small-time circus life. Tully’s use of fast-paced vignettes and unforgettable characters made this book one of his most successful, both commercially and critically. Among the cast is Cameron, the shifty circus owner; Lila, the lonely four-hundred-pound strong woman; and Blackie, an amoral drug addict.This is by no means a romantic story about a boy joining the circus. Tully knows too well its seamier side. Instead, he paints a picture of life at the edges–earthy, wolfish, and brutal. Fans of Jack London, Jack Kerouac, John Steinbeck, Charles Bukowski, and hard-boiled writers of the 1930s will find a kindred spirit in Jim Tully.Series: Black Squirrel Books (Book 8)
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Kent State Univ Pr (June 30, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606350013
ISBN-13: 978-1606350010

Jim Tully was one of the fine American novelists to emerge in the 1920s and '30s. He gained this position with intelligence, sensitivity, and hard work.... No matter how crazily violent or fantastic his stories are, readers accept them as nonfiction. Tully makes the improbable seem true.

Harvey Pekar May 18, 2015

Part two of Jim Tully's autobiographical series (after BEGGARS OF LIFE), CIRCUS PARADE is pure pleasure all the way through. Tully's narrative voice is on par with Charles Bukowski's in its accessibility and flow as he describes his experience with a crew of outcasts, outright sociopaths, and tramps in Cameron's Greatest World's Greatest Combined Shows. This is not, however, a lighthearted book. The dark underbelly of America is illuminated sympathetically but with equal measures of grim realism. Homophobia, misogyny, economic exploitation, and racism are ever-present realities for the circus folk as they struggle against each other and against the ignorant small-town rubes who are their hosts. Also, William Gropper's pen-and-ink illustrations are worth getting the book for, just by themselves.

RH May 18, 2015

So glad this is back in print. I found Circus Parade in a used book store long ago and it led me to read all of Tully's books. Better than Beggars of Life - which is melodramatic and overblown by comparison.

Circus Parade is fascinating - told in almost a cinematic "blackout" style of vignettes. It is still one of my favorite books. I wish I had bought the rights.

Tzar May 18, 2015

Author: Mark Dawidziak

Mark Dawidziak is the author or editor of about 25 books, including three studies of landmark television series: The Columbo Phile: A Casebook, The Night Stalker Companion and Everything I Need to Know I Learned in The Twilight Zone, his lighthearted 2017 tribute to Rod Serling’s classic anthology series. He also is an internationally recognized Mark Twain scholar, and five of his books are about the iconic American writer. He spent 43 years as a television, film and theater critic at such newspapers as the Akron Beacon Journal and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. His work on the horror side of the street also includes the novel Grave Secrets, The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Dracula, short stories, and comic book scripts. He lives in Ohio.