Thursday, February 6, 2014

Introducing Our New VIB

A lush and thrilling romantic fable about two lovers set against the scandalous burlesques, midnight séances, and aerial ballets of the 1898 Omaha World’s Fair.

On the eve of the 1898 Omaha World’s Fair, Ferret Skerritt, ventriloquist by trade, con man by birth, isn’t quite sure how it will change him or his city. Omaha still has the marks of a filthy Wild West town, even as it attempts to achieve the grandeur and respectability of nearby Chicago. But when he crosses paths with the beautiful and enigmatic Cecily, his whole purpose shifts and the fair becomes the backdrop to their love affair.

One of a traveling troupe of actors that has descended on the city, Cecily works in the Midway’s Chamber of Horrors, where she loses her head hourly on a guillotine playing Marie Antoinette. And after closing, she rushes off, clinging protectively to a mysterious carpetbag, never giving Ferret a second glance. But a moonlit ride on the swan gondola, a boat on the lagoon of the New White City, changes everything, and the fair’s magic begins to take its effect.

From the critically acclaimed author of The Coffins of Little Hope, The Swan Gondola is a transporting read, reminiscent of Water for Elephants or The Night Circus.
Heather says:
"Timothy Schaffert's The Swan Gondola is an immersive, picturesque novel recounting the recent history of one “Ferrett” Skerritt – an orphan who came of age on the dusty streets of 1898 Omaha, Nebraska, first as an accomplished pick-pocket, then as a ventriloquist working with a sophisticated mechanical dummy named Oscar. Ferrett has mysteriously crashed a hot air balloon into the rural farm of two elderly spinsters, and as they tend to his injuries and hear his tale, they present him with mysteries of their own. The crash of the hot air balloon is the culmination of a poignant love story, set agains the magnificent scenery of the Omaha World's Fair. With wonderful allusions to The Wizard of Oz – a wicked witch, a man-made cyclone, and Emerald Castle, and a girl named Dorothy in addition to the hot-air ballon – as well as a remarkable cast of quirky characters, the story is sweet and haunting and enchanting."

Every now and then we encounter a new book that we’re so excited about we want to shout it from the rooftops, so we've created a special tag to distinguish it from the rest: TC VIB (very impressive book)! That means it’s a true stand-out in a season of many excellent and compelling new books.

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