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When a man named Lewis rents a vacation house on Long Island for a few days, he doesn't expect to end up on a crazy circus train ride to nowhere. His one night in the house, he burns it down. Then he meets charismatic Joseph Dillon, manager of the Circus of the Grand Design. Knowing he needs to leave the area in a hurry, Lewis agrees to join the circus as a publicist, despite Dillon's warning that he might not be able to return to the place he began. The circus's private train travels an infinite dream-loop to unknown lands, and Lewis becomes lost amongst crazy acrobats, sexy elephant riders, a magical mechanical horse, a giant woman and her savage, prehistoric rodent bears, an egotistical juggler, and...a fertility goddess who takes exceptional interest in him. The train, its residents, and the places they visit form a complex puzzle that Lewis feels compelled to solve.
"Robert Wexler is an author who walks between the sea and the sand. He has a genius for configuring the state between waking and dreaming, and the delicious anxiety of never confirming which of these states presides. It's a superb trick, used to brilliant effect in Circus Of The Grand Design." – Graham Joyce
"Circus Of The Grand Design belongs up there with Nathanael West's The Dream Life of Balso Snell and Robert Silverberg's Son of Man. A swell, almost-hallucinated novel that moves with a logic all its own." – Howard Waldrop
"unaffected style and exuberantly eccentric cast keep the story as buoyant and airy as a center-ring trapeze act." – Publisher's Weekly
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