Anna MacDonald reviews 'The Trapeze Act' by Libby Angel

An epigraph from Mary Ruefle’s Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected lectures (2012) sets the tone of Libby Angel’s novel, The Trapeze Act ‘what is the moment but a fragment of greater time?’ This book is composed of fragments, which, taken together, capture the desire for a complete understanding of history and the impossibility of satisfying that desire.

A well-written and entertaining début, The Trapeze Act is narrated by Loretta Lord and set in an unnamed southern Australian city – one proud of its free-settler establishment and, by the late 1960s, home to the highest murder rate in the country. The novel moves across time and space, shifting between Loretta’s memories of her trapeze- artist mother, with her exuberant accounts of the Dutch Rodzirkus; her barrister father and the notorious murder cases by which he made his fame and fortune; and the found stories of her great-great-great-grandparents, who in 1858 emigrated to the colonies in search of elephants and their ivory.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Published in April 2017, no. 390

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.