Loretta’s mother was a trapeze artist in Europe, the star of the famed Rodzirkus circus, before she walked out on her drunken husband and his debts while on tour in Australia. But a life in 1960s suburban Adelaide was always going to be difficult, even if she does land herself the most handsome young barrister of the town, and Leda’s behaviour raises more than a few eyebrows.
Leda’s father, handsome barrister Gilbert Lord, has no interest in his past, but hidden in a wardrobe are the journals of his ivory merchant great-great-grandfather who led an expedition to Australia’s desert interior to search for elephants.
For Loretta, growing up in her mother’s flamboyant and often outrageous shadow, life is stifling and at times brutal. But the harder she tries to separate herself from her mother, the more she longs for her attention and love—and the more she finds that the past is inextricably woven into her own life and who she is.
The Trapeze Act weaves stories of the circus and the doomed ivory expedition through a novel that is at once a heartbreaking tale of the search for acceptance and a celebration of the lustre and magic of life.
‘The brutal and tragic circus tales in The Trapeze Act will appeal to fans of Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, while the family drama and Australian history will delight any modern literature reader.’
‘Angel’s evocative prose easily captures the eras she describes, and her quirky characters…A colourful tale.’
‘One to pick up early this year…A complex narrative that interweaves circus tales with family heartache.’
‘The Trapeze Act is not a novel about being in the circus, but about what happens after the circus…the novel follows Loretta’s journey as she grapples with her parents’ past and their influence on her present.’
‘A book of whimsy and wit…It’s the pure imaginative feat of The Trapeze Act, and Angel’s joyous, clever use of language that makes it such a rollicking good read. I’m always excited when I hear a poet has made the leap to prose, because sometimes the result bends the rules of what we expect from a novel and creates something new. With The Trapeze Act, Angel has done just that.’
‘With the release of The Trapeze Act, 2017 in Australian publishing is off to a great start.’
‘Libby Angel weaves captivating stories of the circus throughout this lyrical work about acceptance and the influence of family.’
‘It is an enriching story of heartbreak and a search for love and acceptance.’
‘This family drama weaves circus magic, suburban malaise and tales of the Dark Continent in seamless harmony. An impressive debut.’
‘An expertly layered, lyrical rumination on family and identity…Angel has a vivid imagination and poetic skill with language. Her prose is evocative, her strikingly original characters as bright and colourful as they are intense. The Trapeze Act is a compelling portrait of a highly dysfunctional but delightful family. I look forward to seeing more from this talented writer.’
‘Quixotic and unpredictable and entertaining, like a good circus act.’
‘The Trapeze Act is a stunning novel—something that should come as no surprise, give that it’s the debut from poet Libby Angel. Angel transitions with ease between voices, eras and writing styles, crafting a lyrically beautiful world populated with fantastic characters…A beautiful debut.’
‘The Trapeze Act weaves stories of the circus and the doomed ivory expedition through a novel that is at once a heartbreaking tale of the search for acceptance and a celebration of the lustre and magic of life.’
‘Libby Angel’s The Trapeze Act proves a colourful and striking coming-of-age novel, composed with a poet’s sensitivity, flair and finesse.’
‘[Angel’s] poetry shows in her delightful prose, and turn of phrase.’
‘The Trapeze Act tackles questions of identity and belonging through an unapologetically feminist lens…The most evocative moments of the novel take place within Leda’s circus tales of tragedy, imbuing the story with both a sense of abandon and melancholy, as well as the family dynamics that play out within a discombobulated household quite unlike any other.’
‘This short novel captures an essence of Australia and it also examines the question of whether we create our own identity or if our generic heritage is largely responsible for who we become.’
‘Angel’s feisty voice and eye for the idiosyncrasies of 1960s Australia mean this is bloody bonza, mate.’
‘A well-written and entertaining debut…It is a pleasure to read Angel’s poetic prose.’
‘If it sounds fabulously convoluted, that’s because it is—but first-time author-poet Libby Angel expertly shifts between the various story arcs. Of course, it all starts to go horribly wrong, leaving Loretta to find her own way. But Angel’s feisty voice and eye for the idiosyncrasies of 1960s Australia mean this is bloody bonza, mate.’