Welcome to the Circus

By (author): Rhonda Douglas

Rhonda Douglas’s debut collection dazzles with its daring and dangerous prose. Welcome to the Circus, where every moment is a tight-rope act, precariously balancing on the edge of destruction.

In these stories, a choir processes its collective grief at the loss of one of its members to cancer; a teenage boy marks himself with the poetry of John Donne; God explains the collapse of the cod fishery; Mata Hari stands trial; and two sisters try to reconcile their respective places in the family porn emporium business before everything blows up.

These ten strikingly original stories explore love and escape—how we escape to love, escape through love, and escape ourselves and hold on to love. Together, the stories of Welcome to the Circus highlight the acrobatic, courageous circus acts we all learn to perform.


Rhonda Douglas

Originally from Grand Bank, Newfoundland, Rhonda Douglas has published her poetry and fiction in literary journals across Canada and in New Zealand, with her writing earning prizes in the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Competition and Memorial University’s Gregory J. Power Poetry Contest. In 2006, she won both The Malahat Review‘s Far Horizons Award for Poetry and Arc‘s Diana Brebner Prize. A graduate of the Humber School for Writers, Douglas is completing the Optional-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at UBC. She lives in Ottawa with her husband and their two daughters.


“[Douglas’s stories] bubble with originality and daring… an exhilarating read.” ? Publishers Weekly

“Rhonda Douglas’s Welcome to the Circus does what great short story collections do: just when you think you’re safe, caught in the ebb and flow of strong narrative, the stories surprise you with a shift of the bare and the raw, each with those flashes of insight that are most akin to the spotlit reveal of nakedness. It has perhaps the best thing that you can say about any collection: they may be stories, but they read like truth. With a vast breadth of style, from Paleolithic romance to the spare desperate needs of a businesslike sex club, Welcome to the Circus delivers. This is a collection worth waiting for, and worth thinking about.” ? Russell Wangersky, author of Whirl Away

“Rhonda Douglas has a knack for making the bizarre seem reasonable and deeply human. A resurrected Neandertal, a Job Creator of the Year pornographer, a John Donne obsessed cutter, God ? these are just a few of the surprising characters in her circus. This funny, moving debut is a show you won’t want to miss.” ? Caroline Adderson, author of Ellen in Pieces

Every story in this collection is so precisely written and expertly handled…” ? Rhonda Collis, PRISM international


  • Ottawa Book Award 2016, Short-listed
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    192 Pages
    8.50in * 5.50in * .50in


    May 01, 2015


    Freehand Books



    Book Subjects:

    FICTION / Short Stories



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