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The Circus Train
"The Circus Train" is an essay of novella length-something for which we have no term. But nevertheless it is meant to stand on its own. Even with the two additional companion essays, The Circus Train is a short book. Its intention is to explore, to argue, and to contemplate. Confronting memory and mortality, Judith Kitchen finds abundance in her own front yard.
Paperback, 180 pages
Published January 19th 2014 by Ovenbird Books
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Of course, I am prejudiced. Kitchen is an extraordinary person, writer, thinker, mentor, and The Circus Train takes her craft to a higher level altogether. As she exposes memory after memory--from childhood, her recent bout with cancer and multiple points between--the visions are precise and vulnerable. But more transpires as I read. In addition to seeing what she saw, she called up memories from my past (and present)to parallel hers. That's astonishing--to show the reader something real of ...more
These meanderings in memory and thought, forgetfulness and unforgettableness, this chasing of the circus train in the face of its end, these meditations and circuitous considerations in first-, second-, and third-person are beautiful, quiet, and moving, the way the circus train keeps plowing through Kitchen's mind. A meditation on mortality and memory that draws from the past and projects into the future while living in the ever-tentative present.
Circus Train explores Judith Kitchen's memory and understanding of her illness and health and place in life through a variety of flash memoirs connected to the time of writing and how she felt and what she experienced. The style and contributions vary and add up to a quilt of thought. Very interesting work--her unique voice carries the reader to another world.