The Circus of Dr. Lao, Second Edition (Bison Frontiers of Imagination)


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Pantaloons whose hearts are breaking. For fans of odd, discarded, wayward old novels. View all 13 comments.

This book is copy 40 of copies printed and is signed by: Oct 03, J. Grice rated it it was ok Shelves: LAO was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and I still love watching it from time to time. Of course, it was based on this book. Finney delivers a rather minimalist approach in dealing with his fable and trying to teach the people of a small western town a lesson. I just didn't get much substance out of this novella compared to the film. Aug 05, Greg rated it really liked it Shelves: A strange tale of a circus that comes to a quiet depression era town.

The Circus Of Drlao

The story itself is kind of fun in a magical realist sort of way, but where the author really shines is when he steps out of the story telling to give pretty scathing critiques of society and progress. Sort of reads like Kurt Vonnegut at times, especially in the glossary defining all the characters and inconsistencies in the book. Good stuff although one reviewer is mistaken that his is Charles Finney's only book. A very quic A strange tale of a circus that comes to a quiet depression era town.

A very quick perusal of the introduction of which I didn't read, and probably won't read says that he wrote books after this one, but his first novel was the only one to gain any kind of success. The said reviewer also doesn't like 'R' rated material in his books, nor effeminate actors.

I on the other hand either don't notice the 'r' ratedness of books, or don't get shocked by such content, and haven't ever since the giggles and blushes of being an 8th grader reading the orgy scene at the end of Stephen Kings It. View all 4 comments. Feb 22, Kavita rated it liked it Shelves: I am fascinated by circus themes, which is why I picked up this odd little book. A Chinese man brings a circus into the small hick town of Abalone, Arizona. The advertising is itself funny, arousing the curiosity of the townspeople, most of whom end up going to the circus.

What happens there and the curiosities displayed by Dr Lao are the rest of the plot. For a start, it was quite interesting to see what an author in would have considered outlandish in a circus, considering there were "frea I am fascinated by circus themes, which is why I picked up this odd little book. For a start, it was quite interesting to see what an author in would have considered outlandish in a circus, considering there were "freak shows" of people with all kinds of physical conditions.

I think the Russian who was a bear was the most interesting of them all. The creatures are taken mostly from folklore and mythology. I also enjoyed Dr Lao's appearances, at times talking fluently in English and at other times using pidgin, clearly showing that perceptions are in the eye of the beholder. But beyond the excellent description of the circus and its inhabitants, the novel lacked a cohesive narrative.

Some of the scary things are not scary at all. Most of the "problems" that arise are directed towards women. The story is overall quite sexist in different ways with turning a woman into stone, orgies where women try to appease a deity, and caps it all with a virgin sacrifice. All said and done, however, this little book is a bit of a freak show in itself. It is wonderfully obscure and twisted and bizarre. For lovers of odd gems of literature, this is highly recommended.

Just expect to get slightly offended with the racism and sexism, but overlooking these can bring its own reward. View all 6 comments.

The Circus of Dr. Lao by Charles G. Finney

Apr 02, Dfordoom rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is a very unconventional circus. The early s movie version has very little in common with the novel. Originally published in What an odd little book! The Circus of Dr Lao is It deserves to be more than an 'obscure classic'. The book starts out strange and just gets stranger. There's not much to the story, a circus comes to the sleepy town of Abalone, Arizona and the townsfolk seem unimpressed but they've got nothing better to do, so they go.

There is a scene in which a lady has her fortune told. It's so brilliant and brutal. Shirley Jackso What an odd little book! Shirley Jackson would have loved it! This is an easy read, for all the weirdness, and short enough to be read in a day. I think I'll still be thinking about it for a long time.

Recommended to fans of obscure classics. Apr 17, Jean-marcel rated it it was amazing. This is a truly extraordinary book.

I believe that in a just world this book would be considered among the paragons of American letters, right up there with free-thinking luminaries like Mark Twain, who Charles Finney indeed often calls to my mind while reading The Circus of Dr. The whole story takes place in a day and, This is a truly extraordinary book.

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The whole story takes place in a day and, indeed, you should be able to read this book in a few hours, and because of its brevity and depth it is one you can and should keep returning to. Finney's style never fails to be engaging, and there are many scenes here that always have me laughing aloud. Some of the humour is cute, some clever, and some just makes you laugh because people can be pretty shitty and Finney just does a great job of showing exactly how and why this is, and you laugh because you know it's true as much as the hoity-toity like to pretend they can hide this part of their nature.

I also found certain bits here to be wonderfully racey, especially for their time, and while I'd definitely love to read this one to my kids if I ever had any, I think only the imaginary "ultra-cool schools" would ever teach this one in class. A lot of the characters are just there to be a part of Finney's dart board, and even though he starts by being gentle toward them they almost always fall short of his apparent expectation.

It's interesting to read the catalog of characters at the back and see how he fleshes out bits of their background and personality outside of the story, like a cool bit of post-modern asidery well before the term was in vogue Well I'll tell you anyway! There's a lot of discussion on this page about the movie based on this work, The Seven Faces of Dr.

Lao , which is fun but basically just light entertaining fluff compared with the original source. It's as though Hollywood sucked all the meat out of the story and left just a sweet kids' romp. Don't relate or compare this to the film; see and understand them as completely separate entities and you'll be a lot better off. This book is a piece of timeless literature; I hope that in a hundred years people will still be reading this and singing its praises. Jul 18, Jan Rice marked it as saw-the-movie Shelves: I have this paperback novel in a but satisfyingly yellowed printing, but I haven't read it.

Instead I've seen the movie twice, once a long time ago--not when it originally came out but in the '70s, maybe, or the '80s, so probably on tape--and once a week or so ago. I had fond memories of its being both silly and moving and had the urge to see it again. The movie's name is a little bit different: Trouble brews in a tiny western town that has fallen on hard times I have this paperback novel in a but satisfyingly yellowed printing, but I haven't read it. Trouble brews in a tiny western town that has fallen on hard times as a villain tries to get the citizens to lose faith and sell cheap.

In addition, several residents have life problems of their own. Along comes a stereotypical Chinaman who, however, has something up his sleeve. He announces a circus. The circus has six stars, and the same actor who plays the Chinaman plays them all, to great effect. Peter Sellers was considered but wasn't yet a big enough star.

The movie is one of those that could have been performed on the stage. The plot is along the lines of A Christmas Carol: The town's overall difficulty gets a happy ending too. Perhaps due to the decent economy at the time the movie was being made, the villain isn't too villainous; he was just disillusioned and was hoping to get overturned.

Interestingly, although his get-rich aims were the purported problem such that the townspeople had to be warned not to sell out for silver, it seems everyone will get to cash in at the end. And, yes, the East provides what the West needs. It's a little hokey but still as I remembered.


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I have a fondness for the people of the sleepy little town of Abalone, Arizona. I too live in a small desert town. It's not in Arizona but it is a stone's throw away on the other side of the Colorado River. I wouldn't call it sleepy since it is on the I, one of the busiest interstates in the nation. Yet it does occasionally seem like it is on the verge of lapsing into a coma. We even have a circus that comes into town twice a year.

It has a not-so-big-top tent, an asthmatic ringmaster and an I have a fondness for the people of the sleepy little town of Abalone, Arizona. It has a not-so-big-top tent, an asthmatic ringmaster and an acrobat who falls a lot. But at least it's a circus. Lao arrives to their town. Lao's one day extravaganza exhibits mythological creatures of wonder. They have a magician that really does magic and a seer who really tells the future, which of course is usually depressing.

I can understand how the residents struggle with their beliefs and skepticism, some learning but most going on with their illusions. But I would give a year of my life for one day with the circus of Dr. Lao where small town reality is given a kick in the groin and fantasy interrupts monotony.

Finney's under-appreciated fantasy novel has no real plot. It chronicles a day the circus comes into town. Yet the author weaves a fantastical story that is bolstered by Dr. Lao's wonderful descriptions of his creatures that is party traditional mythology and party Lao's own fabrication. The tension, and delight, of the story comes in the town resident's own reactions which runs the gamut from disbelief to unrealistic optimism.

This is one of the books you read for the language. It is somewhere between Bradbury and Beagle in style although it would be more accurate to say Bradbury and Beagle takes their style from Finney as this book was published in It is also surprisingly racy for its time especially considering that the words "pornographic" and "hermaphroditic" appear by the second page. Unlike what those who saw the movie 7 faces of Dr.

Lao may assume, this is not a children's book. But it is a witty and sometimes surrealist look at human nature and what happens when complacency is challenged. Lao, , de Charles G. La historia me ha gustado bastante, sobre todo en su primera mitad. Apr 12, Algernon rated it really liked it Shelves: A short , concentrated narrative, alternatively humorous, subversive, scary or lyrical. Jul 16, Wesley A. Vermillion rated it it was amazing Shelves: I try to read this book every couple of years. After the first time I read it Charles G.

Finney was catapulted to my favorite writer. Each time I read it, I experience it differently. The first time I read it I thought the world was a cynical place full of hate and misery, and that humans are horrible people. The second time I read it I felt that the world was mysterious and strange, and I felt that most people don't realize this.

I am not sure how Charles G. Finney wanted to make people feel wh I try to read this book every couple of years. Finney wanted to make people feel when they read this. I think it is magical that one book can make a person experience so many different emotions during different readings. One of the most interesting things about this book is that with the exception of some of the outdated racial language not the ones in the dialogue, but some of the narration the prose and language is shockingly modern.

If you come to this book after watching the movie, be aware it is more cynical, and a bit darked. It is also less plot driven. N One of the most interesting things about this book is that with the exception of some of the outdated racial language not the ones in the dialogue, but some of the narration the prose and language is shockingly modern. Not unlike some Bradbury of the same era, also reminiscent of Beagle in spots.

Oct 29, Palawa rated it really liked it Shelves: Finney's book is unsettling. You're given sound-bites of dialogue and gain some insight into characters, but they often don't react as you'd expect. The people of Abalone have a 'whatever' kind of attitude to the arrival of Dr Lao's fantastic circus of mythological beasts, and throughout the story I could see many parallels to our desensitized and blinkered culture.

The illustrations are bizarre but in harmonizes with the plot. It is a funny little book and somehow gets under your skin. Jul 25, Tony rated it it was amazing Shelves: A fun movie but a down-right oddball book - the paperback equivalent of an "enigmatic stranger" - its a social commentary, its a comedy, it's stream of conciousness - and it ends with a big list of questions that remain unanswered.

More to discover upon each re-read. Oh - and what's it all about? Well, a circus comes to a small, US town Jan 12, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy rated it it was amazing. An odd, mordant phantasmagoria. There are traces of sexist and racist attitudes that don't sit well with me, but leavened by the urbane wit and rich imagination. It's a strange book really, frivolous but thought provoking, and blessed with a wonderful set of appendices that remind me of Ambrose Bierce in Infernal lexicographer mode.

Jan 19, Jim Dooley rated it really liked it. This is the book, written some years earlier, that inspired it. It doesn't have a storyline as much as it is an OpEd reporting of a highly unusual series of strange and amazing events. Sendatsu is a hunted guy.

His humans, even his personal father, wish him useless. Neglected Destinyby Warren C. ManbeckThe 5 creatures that resided within the rented domestic have been the essence of what horror tales, folklore and myths have been made up of. Extra resources for The Circus of Dr.

Cong ty thiet Library. The Circus of Dr. Lao arrives and immensely and irrevocably adjustments the lives of every person attracted to its tents. Expecting a sideshow spectacle, the electorate of Abalone as a substitute confront and study profound classes from the legendary made real—a chimera, a Medusa, a speaking sphinx, a sea serpent, witches, the Hound of the Hedges, a werewolf, a mermaid, an historical god, and the elusive, ever-changing Dr.

Dazzling and macabre, literary and philosophical, The Circus of Dr.

The Circus of Dr. Lao, Second Edition (Bison Frontiers of Imagination) The Circus of Dr. Lao, Second Edition (Bison Frontiers of Imagination)
The Circus of Dr. Lao, Second Edition (Bison Frontiers of Imagination) The Circus of Dr. Lao, Second Edition (Bison Frontiers of Imagination)
The Circus of Dr. Lao, Second Edition (Bison Frontiers of Imagination) The Circus of Dr. Lao, Second Edition (Bison Frontiers of Imagination)
The Circus of Dr. Lao, Second Edition (Bison Frontiers of Imagination) The Circus of Dr. Lao, Second Edition (Bison Frontiers of Imagination)
The Circus of Dr. Lao, Second Edition (Bison Frontiers of Imagination) The Circus of Dr. Lao, Second Edition (Bison Frontiers of Imagination)

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