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The Catch Trap
 
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Marion Zimmer Bradley
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The Catch Trap

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  1,286 ratings  ·  123 reviews
Tommy Zane hates lions, a major obstacle in a family of lion tamers. But Tommy's dreams--and talent--fly higher, up in the rigging with the trapeze. When rising star Mario Santelli offers him flying lessons, it looks like the start of wonderful new life, and to Tommy's surprise, his relationship with Mario deepens even as his skill soars in the rigging. But life in the 194 ...more
Published (first published January 1st 1979)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,737)
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John Goode
I read this book every year.

It is like a vacation for me, I take time, set it aside and go visit Tommy and Matt for a few weeks. Every year it is different, every year it is the same. Every year I cry, every year I fall in love. There is so much magic in this book it s impossible to explain with just words, which is ironic since the magic was made with words but I digress.

A tale of two trapeze artists told in the backdrop of Post World War II, this book spans years and years of Tommy and Matt an
...more
Calen
This is hands down, the best book I've ever read with gay men as the main characters. It's honestly a masterpiece of gay literature. This is the story of love and romance between Mario and Tommy, two circus flyers, and everything that happens around them. It's so original, so creative, and so expertly written. The details and descriptions put into this are excellent and reading it was almost surreal. I was in love with it from the first chapter and didn't want it to end. I wish there were more b ...more
Sala Bim
I just can't believe how disappointed I am with this book. I searched for it for so long and when I finally found it and read it I just...I can't adequately explain how I feel. I won't lament too much though & I will try not to include spoilers. I acknowledge beforehand that this is only my meager opinion.
Marion ZB was obviously a talented writer, and I have enjoyed some of her other works, but as a gay, male reader, I found this piece so poorly done, so brutal, even offensive at times, t
...more
Erastes
As a fan of circus stories, and someone who has been so since a little kid, this was something I was really looking forward to. I had very few preconceptions, as I didn’t know what era it was set in or whether it had a romance ending, or anything. I love films such as Trapeze (I saw the homoerotic subtext in there, even before I discovered gay romance) and The Greatest Show on Earth so as I say I was happy to jump in to The Catch Trap.

And overall I wasn’t disappointed. Tommy Zane is the young so
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Zahra
There are so many reason why I shouldn't love this book, but the simple truth is I couldn't put it down.
It's not an easy read. Tommy, the character whose POV is mostly used, is, at fifteen, young and naive, and so very much in love with Mario, his trapeze mentor who is about eight years older than him.
Mario is a hard person to love, though. He's self-destructive and full of self-loathing, despite being an immensely talented flyer and a natural teacher.

I love the time setting (forties and fiftie
...more
Moureco
Um livro magnífico, é o que me ocorre comentar. O trabalho de pesquisa da autora deve ter sido imenso, tal o domínio da arte do trapézio que se percebe na escrita. Os voadores Mário e Tommy apaixonam-se, discutem, lutam, desaparecem das vidas um do outro (não sem consequências), mas o amor que nutrem um pelo outro sobrevive a tudo e ao tempo em que estão separados. Além desta história nuclear, lemos a saga familiar de uma família de trapezistas, os amores e desamores dos seus elementos, os seus ...more
João Roque
Tanta, mas tanta coisa a dizer sobre esta obra prima de Marion Zimmer Bradley e eu pouco vou dizer.
Apenas que "Salto Mortal" é um dos mais admiráveis livros que já li, me emocionou e empolgou totalmente.
É um "grande" livro, e em todos os sentidos, pois se antes de iniciar a sua leitura, o seu tamanho me intimidava um pouco, no final o único incómodo das suas mais de 800 páginas foi o volume do livro não o permitir ler da melhor forma em certos lugares, nomeadamente na cama.
Quando conseguir arrum
...more
Jeff
I read this as a teenager decades ago. It was the first or one of the very first, books with gay characters and positive ones at that. I holds a special place in my heart.
A.M. Riley
I'm interested in what other writers of GLBT think of Marion Zimmer Bradley. I feel almost as if a piece of her got blown into my heart a decade ago. Like a dandelion gone to seed.

The Mists of Avalon was the first Arthurian legend based book that answered the need I had to see strong female characters in my favorite myth. Poor old Lord Tennyson had pretty much destroyed the women of the Round Table for me. Mindless idiots and evil witches. The Mists of Avalon was a sort of redemption.

Bradley was
...more
Samantha
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rory
I have reread this book many many times... It takes place during the 20's and 30's in the life of a circus performer and the family that he joins to become a famous trapezee artist. This is an amazing look at circus history over several decades as well as about love both romantic and familial. It was one of the best books ever.
Stephen
Mar 13, 2008 Stephen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any gay man interested in pre-stonewall gay life
Recommended to Stephen by: blind luck
Tommy Zane is leading a life that many kids dream of in this depression era America. His Dad is a big cat trainer and he and his dad and mom are making a comfortable living as circus folk. Though Tommy must water the occasional elephant, help in the rigging of the big tents and even fill-in for one of the girls in a flying ring act, every days an adventure. But recently Tommy is enthralled by the royalty of the circus, the Flying Santellis, the circus's world famous Flying Trapeze attraction. An ...more
Madison Parker
Absolutely captivating. This book had me completely immersed in this fascinating world of circus performers. I've actually woken up the past two mornings realizing that I had just been dreaming about these characters; that's how completely absorbed I have become in this story. These two men and the story of their love and dedication to each other and to their art has deeply moved me. There were at least three different points in the story where I was in tears because of the emotional intensity. ...more
Margarida
A ficção decorre nos anos quarenta e cinquenta do século passado, numa América intolerante e preconceituosa, sendo um excelente e dramático romance sobre o amor entre dois homens, a que se junta uma pesquisa rigorosa sobre a arte do trapézio e o universo do circo daquelas décadas.
A narrativa é fluida e a autora conseguiu captar as emoções, medos e pressões do casal de trapezistas, sendo um deles originário de uma família italiana católica.
Alisa
I think I'm going to have a hard time expressing how I felt about this book. Parts were magical and drug me right in. The author did a great job show casing the time period they lived in and the life in a traveling circus. I had an issue with more than one thing in this book though and in the end it was how blasted long it was that most impacted my rating. It just felt like it went on and on (and on.)

The story focuses on Tommy, a teen who's parents are lion tamers in a traveling circus. Tommy h
...more
Sarah
The Catch Trap was an incredibly moving story and I really liked it much. Below are a few of my random thoughts. For a far more insightful analysis I suggest you check out Teddy Pig’s review, he’s the reason I spent considerable time ringing 2nd hand book shops around the country trying to get hold of it! Which is what good reviews do, they should illustrate that the novel has touched someone in some way and give you, the reader, some impetus to whip out your much abused credit card.

So, in short
...more
Erulisse
I was recommended to read this as an early entry into LGBT literature. Knowing that I have enjoyed other books by this author, I was looking forward to it. I never dreamed how much I would enjoy this. It's not erotica, most of the sexual escapades are not explicit at all. But the relationship that she develops between the two main characters is human, fallible, and rings true. They are each other's lifelines, and when they fully realize that along with their place in each other's lives as well a ...more
Melody
I love this book. It's a wonderful, heart-wrenching story about a pair of circus trapeze artists who fall in love. The problem is they are both men, and it's the forties. Things do not go smoothly. It's a riveting story and a departure for Bradley, who wrote mostly sci-fi. The characters are achingly real.

There's so much here, both about aerialists, their process and art, and about pre-Stonewall gay men, that one forgives the occasionally purple prose, the claustrophobic angst, and only sees the
...more
Smith Barney
Classic oldie but goodie authored by a phenomenally gifted voice of one of my favorite legendary Arthurian/Camelot writers. This is a beautifully-labored homosexual love saga in a sweeping circus life setting strife with traditional family dysfunctional conflict, with several undercurrent dynamics throughout the story.

Minor sidenote; no f'ing sex, which sucks a deflated dick.
Jose Santos
The best book I ever read.
Surreysmum
[These notes were writte in 1985:]. Two people do a flying trapeze act, and fall in love with each other, face outside opposition, split up, and eventually, older and wiser, realize they can't live without each other, establish a new and firmer relationsip, and square things with difficult relatives. Oh, and not at all incidentally, they're both male: Mario and Tommy. I always suspected Zimmer Bradley had an overtly gay novel in her, though I'm surprised it took her till '79 to write it, and tha ...more
Radu
I didn't know what to expect from this book when I started reading it, I just picked it from a "best gay literature" list. The first chapters weren't that interesting and I was even considering putting it down. But it caught my interest when Tommy went to live with the Santellis and just got better and better until I was waiting my whole day for the moment I'll get to immerse myself again in the wonderful story of love between Tommy and Mario.
I am always careful about reading gay literature abou
...more
Jami Ouellette
I read this book when it first came out in paperback, because I loved MZB and just knew that this would be as wonderful as her fantasy stuff, even without knowing what the story was about. I read it through in huge gulps, needing to know how the story would resolve itself, finished it and re-read it, and it was just as good the second time. In the years following, I read it over and over, each time finding something in there that convinced me again what a strong story it was. Unfortunately I len ...more
Praxis
This book has been on my mind ever since I first read it. At first, I was kind of worried it was going to be too confusing since acrobatics aren't something I'm very familiar with, but the book explains enough about it to make everything easy to understand without taking away from the flow of the story. The characters all have their own personalities and you grow as close to them as you would a family; worrying and laughing with them. I found the book easy to get into and once I was in there, I ...more
Rebecca Erlewein
MZB's The Catch Trap is one of my all time favourite books. I first read it in 1994 and must have read it about 10 times by now. A few years ago I gave away my copy, and yesterday, when my "new" used copy arrived in the mail, read it again in one sitting. It's still as good as I remembered it.

This book taught me a lot about what is healthy and what isn't in a relationship and in my eyes still stands as one of the best romantic novels I've ever read. This couple just happens to be gay, which adds
...more
Ken
If you've read any of Marion Zimmer Bradley's books before, then throw away your usual expectations and track down a copy of The Catch Trap. If you aren't normally interested in Bradley's books, then you might consider making an exception. This is nothing like her other works -- not like the one's I've read, anyway.
I won't write a detailed review here, because I read this book quite a few years ago, and my memories of it aren't fresh enough. But I wanted to share the fact that this is one read t
...more
George
Hmm. It was much too long, I think. There were times when I was honestly tempted to put it down, which is very uncommon given the subject matter. It was just rather pointlessly angsty. But... the semi-fuzzy-happy ending sort of made it hard for me to be too hard on this one.
Bradley suffers from some rather amateurish style points, but... hey, her heart was pretty obviously in it. The only trouble is she got so caught up in the flying trapeze parts that it became rather dull for those of us who h
...more
Ray
I was hoping to add a fourth book to my own personal circus trilogy. The Catch Trap should certainly qualify as it is set at a few different circuses, focusing on the members of a star trapeze act.

However, the romance between Tommy Zane and Mario Santelli is the predominant feature in the book and frankly it was hard to stomach. Mario is full of bile and self-loathing. He initiates a sexual relationship with Tommy when he is 15 years old. Their relationship is characterized by physical and metal
...more
Crys Harris
4.5 stars. The half star is removed because the book basically has two climaxes, one at about the midway point, when everything falls to hell with the characters and then the book has to build back up to the denouement. I understand why the author did this, and how it was directly related to the development of the amazingly complex and rich characters. However, the slow build-up after those events didn't have the same, gripping tension as the first parts of the book.

This is an excellent book for
...more
Maygirl7
I was a huge fan of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series when I was a kid. After reading all of the Darkover books, I stumbled on the Catch Trap and read it because it was by MZB. It was the first book I can remember reading about being gay and made me feel like I could imagine being a gay man. It scared the crap out of me (i.e., in the same way reading and identifying with a character caught up in the Holocaust). Definitely one of my favorite books that changed my worldview. I'm glad to see ...more
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4841825
Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley was an American author of fantasy novels such as The Mists of Avalon and the Darkover series, often with a feminist outlook.

Bradley's first published novel-length work was Falcons of Narabedla, first published in the May 1957 issue of Other Worlds. When she was a child, Bradley stated that she enjoyed reading adventure fantasy authors such as Henry Kuttner, Edmond Ham
...more
More about Marion Zimmer Bradley...
The Mists of Avalon (Avalon, #1) The Forest House (Avalon, #2) Priestess of Avalon (Avalon, #4) Lady of Avalon (Avalon, #3) The Firebrand

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“If he knew, if he was told in so many words, he would have to do the conventional thing, he would have to express the conventional shock and horror. But knowing without analyzing, knowing in a place that went deeper than words, he could see it, know it, accept it.” 4 likes
“But I mind," Bart said savagely. "I'd like to see a world where I could have my picture taken, say, with Tommy on my lap if I want to. For every woman who got upset because I wasn't, shall we say, available for her romantic daydreams, there's be some young kid reading the papers and going to movies, and he'd be able to stop hating himself and say, 'Okay Bart Reeder is queer, and he's happy and successful, and he's getting along okay, so maybe I don't have to go out and hang myself after all.' And the suicide rate would go down, and everybody would be happy” 0 likes
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