Karen Smith’s Side Shows is a remarkable first collection. Filled with memorable characters caught up in interesting, even bizarre situations, it is highly readable, consistently engaging, and ultimately quite satisfying.
ISBN 0-942979-16-8, quality paper, $9.95 Sale $5.00
ISBN 0-942979-15-X, hardbound, $19.95 Sale $10.00
Until recently B. K. Smith taught at Bevill State Community College. Retired now, she devotes her time to writing and saving for the perfect lighthouse. Her previous story collection, Sideshows, received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. This is her first novel.
| Excerpt From the
seems as though everything revolves around this wheel, at least for Jimmy. I
found him here at 4 a.m. when I came back to the fairground from the city.
After looking for him in several bars and diners, I found him here, circling all
by himself on his double wheel—it, falling and pulling up again—him, staring
straight ahead, pretending not to notice me. I should’ve known. This is
where he always comes to get a new perspective on things. That’s what he’s
doing up there now, since I pulled the bar and stopped him on top. He’s
figuring out a new angle, leaving me here ground level to sit and wonder if
tonight was all my fault. I know he’s mad at me because tonight I took
something away from him. I’m the one who talked him into going into Kansas
City, away from fairtown. It was his first trip out. I’ve seen a lot of the
cities we’ve worked, but never Jimmy. He’s always felt safe in fairtown, always
cocky, confident and on top of things. I don’t know exactly what happened in
that room tonight, but I can guess, and my guess is that bitch hurt Jimmy pretty
good—the way she was screaming at him. Now he’s back here, trying to put his
pride together. And he’ll do it. He’s never let anything get him down. He’s
always been in control, ever since I’ve known him.