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New York, 1976. Sixty-six-year-old Salvo Ursari stands 400 metres above the earth, suspended on a wire strung between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. He has promised his wife Anna this will be his final walk on the wire. So begins Steven Galloway’s epic tale of one man’s life and abiding passion.

The nine-year-old Salvo, a Romany gypsy, escapes to Budapest from his village in Transylvania after a family tragedy. From there he moves to Berlin and then, in the 1930s, flees to America, where he enjoys tremendous success as the star attraction of the Fisher-Fielding Circus Company.

With its irresistible combination of gypsy folklore, carnival life and near impossible feats, Ascension is a wonderfully uplifting novel.

Steven Galloway
About the Author

Steven Galloway was born in Vancouver in 1975. He is the author of three prestigious novels including The Cellist of Sarajevo, which was longlisted for the 2012 IMPAC Dublin literary Award and has been translated into numerous languages.

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Text publication date:
9 February 2004
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Praise for Steven Galloway

‘A natural storyteller…which, along with his soaring imagination, enables him to transport us to an exotic and spellbinding aerie.’

‘The only time Salvo feels at home is far above the crowd, walking on a thin, moving wire, whether in the uppermost reaches of the Big Top, between the World Trade Center Towers, or the Grand Canyon. The pace is perfectly maintained…it’s that true cliché, a book that cannot be put down. Highly recommended.’

‘What makes Ascension worth the read is Galloway’s storytelling powers; his is a self-possessed voice that seamlessly weds narrative and tone. Stories-within stories and shifts in point of view blend providing entertainment and insight into the history and mindset of both Salvo the solo performer and his family. Like the wire-walker he has created here, Galloway has the power to move and astonish, seemingly without sweat or effort.’

‘Bravura writing.’

‘I was quite blown away by this novel.’

Ascension is a compelling and charming epic tale that is refreshingly original and lush with legend.’

‘The descriptions of circus life and tightrope walking are riveting, and Galloway supplies crisp narration, delivering his plot twists in tight, well-constructed scenes.’

‘Breathtaking. Stunning. Magical.’