This week's blog tour entry is Shaman Circus by Gail Gray. It's a book I've returned to a number of times since I first read it. I find what happened in New Orleans after Katrina to be horrifying, of course, but also fascinating. Gray's book tells the story in a way it's rarely told, on the level of individuals. (See my review below.)
Shaman Circus by Gail Gray
In New Orleans following Katrina all bets are off; all masks dissolved. “Don’t forget the sham in shaman,” Jacob Laguerre lies to his new apprentice, Alex Hampton. When Alex, a twenty-eight year-old anthropology professor goes on field-study to post-Katrina New Orleans, he enters a chaotic and altered landscape where he’s psychologically, physically and spiritually challenged by the sarcastic mentoring of the mulatto, Laguerre, a current day voudou shaman.
Both Laguerre’s and Alex’s psyches struggle through stages of transition and rebirth as their lives are enmeshed with a group of quirky fringe-dwellers, as colorful and eccentric as New Orleans itself. Lily Hampton, a sculptor, torn between her love for both men; Mavis, an artist who spent nights in her attic, but survived the floods; Perry Laguerre, Jacob’s hermaphroditic twin, and Bad Jacqui, lesbian owner of a French Quarter bar: are pulled together to form the cynical but ultimately idealistic team who vow to stay in post-Katrina New Orleans.
They all follow a taut path between madness and redemption in the no man’s land of Refrigerator Town as they assist in the aftermath and healing of both the city and those who remain.
Shaman Circus is a magical realism/dark urban fantasy approach to the failure of the levees. This raggle-taggle group discovers how devastated and government-abandoned New Orleans leaves no quarter for societal charades and consumer societies. Cast adrift and crashing together they attempt to make sense of both internal and external wastelands, ultimately leading to transformation and sanctuary.
Review by Steve Lindahl, author of Motherless Soul
"Shaman Circus is a story of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The writing has great detail and provides an understanding of what life was like in that city with clarity that wasn’t in either the news media statistics or the graphic pictures provided at the time of the storm. I was especially affected by a section where an artist was cleaning her studio. When she discovered that one of her works was only half destroyed from water damage, she ripped off the ruined part and kept the rest hoping she could recreate the painting someday. Gray’s images of huge out of control trash fires and colorful Louisiana Voodoo rituals performed in half destroyed warehouses, pulled me into her story and held me there. There was also a fascinating love triangle between Alex, Jacob, and Lily. Their relationships swirled around with almost as much destructive force as the hurricane. Shaman Circus is the type of book that makes its readers want to slow down to carefully pull in every word. It is more than a good read. It is a wonderful journey." -
To purchase Shaman Circus:
ATTM Press: https://www.createspace.com/3426747
For info on Gail Gray: http://theshamanpapers.blogspot.com/
For info about ATTMP: www.allthingsthatmatterpess.com