I might say four and a half stars actually The stories in this book transcend the fantastical setting of circus life and are woven together within universal themes of of humanity I found myself incredibly moved by each story and additionally relating to them as well As a person who also ran screaming from my hometown, the last two stories resonated with me especially loudly It is so difficult to leave one s hometown and evendifficult to ever go back I feel a connection to mine and at I might say four and a half stars actually The stories in this book transcend the fantastical setting of circus life and are woven together within universal themes of of humanity I found myself incredibly moved by each story and additionally relating to them as well As a person who also ran screaming from my hometown, the last two stories resonated with me especially loudly It is so difficult to leave one s hometown and evendifficult to ever go back I feel a connection to mine and at the same time know that I don t fit in there at all, nor would I ever want to The narrators of these two stories capture these sentiments beautifully A series of interconnected short stories, this collection isabout a small town in Indiana than a circus Yes, at one point in the town s history, the circus did winter there, but that hook is never given the space and room it deserves Honestly, the premise could have been anything There s nothing that makes the circus a necessity, which is a problem when that s the supposedly unifying element of a short story collection.As for the stories themselves, they re not bad But they aren t grea A series of interconnected short stories, this collection isabout a small town in Indiana than a circus Yes, at one point in the town s history, the circus did winter there, but that hook is never given the space and room it deserves Honestly, the premise could have been anything There s nothing that makes the circus a necessity, which is a problem when that s the supposedly unifying element of a short story collection.As for the stories themselves, they re not bad But they aren t great I lived in Indiana for a few years, and other than a brief comment about the weather and how utterly depressing winter can be, there s nothing in the book that captures Indiana s unique character.Another problem, for me, was lack of character diversity by which I mean personality In the last story, there s a comment about there being two types of people those who stay and those who leave The Circus in Winter is entirely about people who want to leave and in some cases, do leave There s no attempt to get into the mind of someone who wants to stay, which leaves the stories as mostly being about miserable people who want to leave a small town, which once had a circus in it but doesn t any It s not a bad read, but I was looking forward to stories about well, the circus in winter I m not a fan of stories centering on dysfunctional small town American life People who do enjoy will probably enjoy The Circus in Winter Fans of books about circuses should stay away Quasi recommended Fromto , the Great Porter Circus makes the unlikely choice to winter in an Indiana town called Lima, a place that feels as classic as Sherwood Anderson s Winesburg, Ohio, and as wondrous as a first trip to the Big Top In Lima an elephant can change the course of a man s life or the manner of his death Jennie Dixianna entices men with her dazzling Spin of Death and keeps them in line with secrets locked in a cedar box The lonely wife of the show s manager has each room of her house painted like a sideshow banner, indulging her desperate passion for a young painter And a former clown seeks consolation from his loveless marriage in his post circus job at Clown Alley Cleaners In her astonishing debut, Cathy Day follows the circus people into their everyday lives, bringing the greatest show on earth to the page The Circus In Winter is a thoughtful collection of interwoven stories that come together theyou read While some of the figures are left as caricatures, a few are fully fleshed out with comic, disturbing, or heartbreaking narrative The final piece is a beautiful meditation on what it s like to leave the small town you grew up in. I went into this book with little to no expectations The plot was interesting, sure, but this wasa book I wanted to get through to get to the other side, so I could interview the Ball State group working to turn its themes into a musical.Talk about a fantastic surprise to have discovered such a gem of short stories Obviously these are all thepoignant to me since I m a Hoosier and Day herself grew up in Peru, Ind., the town not too far away from me that, at the turn of the century, I went into this book with little to no expectations The plot was interesting, sure, but this wasa book I wanted to get through to get to the other side, so I could interview the Ball State group working to turn its themes into a musical.Talk about a fantastic surprise to have discovered such a gem of short stories Obviously these are all thepoignant to me since I m a Hoosier and Day herself grew up in Peru, Ind., the town not too far away from me that, at the turn of the century, was home to the very circus she based these stories on What I didn t expect was how great the characters in each story would be from Jennie Dixianna, the beautiful acrobat whose Spin of Death captivated audiences, to Hans Hofstadter, whose evil treatment of animals he cared for would backfire on him in the worst way, I loved every one of them Rich, layered characters in stories that all, in some way, interconnected with one another in the crazy web that was circus life It s obvious Cathy Day loosely painted herself as one orof these characters, a female protagonist who longs to leave the tiny town she grew up in But what I loved about her writing is how she didn t leave us with just a snarky stark y portrayal of our state No, she brought the story full circle and it was in the closing chapter, with a passage that contained these lines, where I decided I loved this book It s taken me a long time to figure out one very simple thing The world is made up of hometowns It s just as hard to leave a city block in Brooklyn or a suburb of Chicago as it is to leave a small town in Indiana And just because it was hard to leave Linden Avenue in Flatbush or the Naperville city limits or Lima doesn t mean you can t ever go back This beautifully written book contains many interwoven stories that all somehow relate to a circus that wintered in Lima IN beginning in the late 1800s While short stories are not my thing, this book weaves them all together so that it s not really short stories at all, but almost like listening to an elderly relative tell you stories about the past Highly entertaining. This is one of the most unique books I ve read in years The book is comprised of a collection of stories of several characters, whose stories all intertwine by the end of the book With the exception of one story, The Lone Star Cowboy, which only relates to a story near the beginning of the book I am in awe of how Day introduced each character and how each one impacts the lives of all of the others Each story can easily stand on its own, which is refreshing in its own right.Overall, the s This is one of the most unique books I ve read in years The book is comprised of a collection of stories of several characters, whose stories all intertwine by the end of the book With the exception of one story, The Lone Star Cowboy, which only relates to a story near the beginning of the book I am in awe of how Day introduced each character and how each one impacts the lives of all of the others Each story can easily stand on its own, which is refreshing in its own right.Overall, the stories are all very sad, very much depicting the realities of life and not those that you read of in other works of fiction There is no main character, per se, but rather a town Lima, Indiana which is the focal point of the book I am impressed with how Day developed each character s relationship with the town and how that affects each character s outcome This truly is a wonderful book that I will recommend to many friends Bear in mind, though, that this a very emotional read and that picking up this book will not, necessarily, be a walk in the park I originally heard about this book while listen to NPR several years ago The author read an exerpt from a chapter about a flood hitting Lima, IN Lima is where the circus stayed in the winter I was excited to finally find the book and was eager to read the other chapters Day read a scene in which an elephant was seeking safety along side the house of a circus worker as the water continue to rise The elephant had stretched its trunk up and into the house in an attempt to continue to breath an I originally heard about this book while listen to NPR several years ago The author read an exerpt from a chapter about a flood hitting Lima, IN Lima is where the circus stayed in the winter I was excited to finally find the book and was eager to read the other chapters Day read a scene in which an elephant was seeking safety along side the house of a circus worker as the water continue to rise The elephant had stretched its trunk up and into the house in an attempt to continue to breath and anchor itself again the water.But what started off as the tale of what happens to a circus when not traveling the country, turned into a historical overview of what happened after the circus stopped traveling and how intertwined the lives and legacies of the original circus crew was with Lima As the story gets further and further away from the original group of characters, I grew tired of trying to figure out how they were all related and traced back to the start of the story Beautiful and evocative yet often not the glamorous facade the traditional circus entices with, this book will definitely be a favourite with fans of Water for Elephants More than anything, its language stands out and paints a full colour landscape simply from text alone Beautiful and evocative yet often not the glamorous facade the traditional circus entices with, this book will definitely be a favourite with fans of Water for Elephants More than anything, its language stands out and paints a full colour landscape simply from text alone To be fair, this review must be prefaced by disclosing a personal preference possibly a passion, certainly a strong like for all things circus Ok, not all things circus, certainly not the animal cruelty, but most things circus just seem positively magical to me and sparkle accordingly So I was predisposed to liking this book and ended up absolutely loving it Taking the write what you know advice, Cathy Day did just that and created a book inspired by her place of birth, Peru, Indiana or Lim To be fair, this review must be prefaced by disclosing a personal preference possibly a passion, certainly a strong like for all things circus Ok, not all things circus, certainly not the animal cruelty, but most things circus just seem positively magical to me and sparkle accordingly So I was predisposed to liking this book and ended up absolutely loving it Taking the write what you know advice, Cathy Day did just that and created a book inspired by her place of birth, Peru, Indiana or Lima, Indiana aptly enough as it is known in the book A small town whose claim to fame besides being Cole Porter s birthplace is serving as a winter quarters of a traveling circus Day s got circus in her veins, her grand or great grandfather operated one, so this book is a sort of mish mash of fictionalized accounts of his show and showmen women and other real live stars The book follows their lives and those of their children s and their children s children, it s a multigenerational saga told through interconnected storylines and it works exceptionally well And no, not just because to me circus is magical, I genuinely enjoyed Day s narrative style, she s got a talent for conveying emotional complexities in a deceptively plain language The book comes across economic and lush at the same time It s tragic she hasn t writtenbooks, but then again if one must have one it book, this is a great one to have And it s understandable, because this is such a personal story, there s even a fictionalized Day in the book, the teacher who leaves Lima only to have fond recollections of it This book reminded me in a way of Geek Love, if Geek Love was a kinder saner book And if you don t at all care about an art form that is circus, you can still appreciate the descriptions of a quintessential American small town with a twist , lives rendered lovingly and realistically and just a generally well done representation of the era, which is to say it works very well as historical fiction alone it just has that something extra, the pizzazz of a great show I absolutely loved this book And the cleverly interwoven personal and fictional aspects of it added a definitive singular extra element to these stories For writing and showmanship both this novel gets all the highest compliments and a glowing recommendation Step right up, an unforgettable visit to Lima, Indiana awaits Lovely Awesome Pure magic