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4.48  ·  Rating details ·  62 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Reading Tim Horvath's novella Circulation, one imagines what it might be like to go spelunking with Jorge Luis Borges or to shelve books with Scheherazade. In this swirling ode to maps, dreams, and the redemptive power of fiction, the stories proliferate vertiginously. At their emotional core is the quest of the main character, a humble librarian, to understand both his fa ...more
Paperback, 68 pages
Published March 5th 2009 by Sunnyoutside (first published 2008)
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Zac Davis Yes - I just checked via Chicago Public Library and their description says Understories includes Circulation.
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Average rating 4.48  · 
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 ·  62 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Adam Floridia

Upon starting this novella, a strange feeling of deja vu descended upon me; things seemed familiar, as if the universe was trying to let me in on some divine secret about the interconnectedness of things. Finally, a few pages in, lightning struck and I realized (drum roll)...oh, I've read this before, and not more than a month or two ago. This is one of the stories in Horvath's collection of stories Understories. Duped, cheated? Is that how I felt after realizing I spent money on a story I
Stephen P
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
From the opening sentence there was a voice quiet, confidential. I knew I could rely on it and that I was in good hands. Novella sized, 68 pages, Circulation did not touch on but explored novel-sized ideas, (Philosophy death, the configurations and origins of story telling, the sources and flowering of imagination). Never did it announce that it was doing so. The writing flowed with effortless fluidity. Therefore its profound impact did not reach me till later.

Humor-edged and taut with the imag
Apr 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Last year my father passed away at the age of 51, but I had lost him nearly twenty years earlier. Through a child's eye, I thought he was a superstar, radio personality, music engineer, musician, and song writer, it all seemed logical and real. I would go on remote broadcasts, sit quietly in the studio as he qued up vinyl and spoke to what I thought was the world. Our apartment was filled with vinyl and demo tapes. When he left, I'm sure he thought he was pursing his dreams, but he didn't realiz ...more
Peter Tieryas
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Circulation is a great read, centering around relationships and all their complex quirks. I revisit Circulations on my blog at:

Kane Faucher
May 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I rarely if ever employ foodie analogies when reviewing a book, but in this case I feel compelled (perhaps not justified as such). Horvath's svelte offering was very much like eating a gourmet appetizer. Drizzled with a poignant literary sauce, a few impeccable dashes of the right spices to give Circulation its right pacing for my discerning palate, this is indeed a narrative of the "search" variety, an attempt to trace the cartography of the narrator's life using a map of landmark clues. Not th ...more
Melanie Page
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this little book! So often I find that I don't read small books like this because they read as half-hearted. This story begins like a little adventure, where the father is a bold figure to his son because he is always in the process of writing a book about caves, but once the father is hospitalized and falling apart, his son begins telling the father stories about what has happened to the book. The story builds to the point where I'm reading too fast to see what happens next! Exce ...more
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, precise, intelligent prose. This award-winning story makes the perfect novella, along with Sunnyoutside's complementary design.
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
A great story for bibliophiles, bookworms and other such individuals (myself included) and a great nod to the power of storytelling. In addition, what I think is at least my own personal take on it, a great meditation on the power of a dream or aspiration. "The Atlas" becomes a defining part of the father's life, arguably destructive in some ways yet still central to the father as a character and in the eyes of his son. Though "The Atlas" is never completed and though "Spelos" never reaches true ...more
Aug 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Reading this this morning, interrupted at the end of section 1 by breakfast. I am very much a daily routine person.

Paging through the new P & W while eating breakfast, though, I come across an article about BookCrossing and Better World Books, complete with picture of BWB's "680K of shelving" holding "3 million books," and details of BookCrossing's "catch and release" book-tracking program.

Not coincidence, convergence. Emerson: "There is in nature a parallel unity which corresponds to the unity
Leah (Books Speak Volumes)
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
You know when a story begins with the magical words, “When we were awash with youth,” that it’s going to be a stunning read. Circulation did not disappoint.

This novella is a beautiful piece of literary fiction; alongside elegantly written musings about the mysterious creation of stories, Horvath sows precious, realistic moments of family life, from in-jokes about tracking the voyage of a fart on a road trip to the growing apart of siblings, from parental pressure to settle down with a good girl
Donna Kirk
Feb 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
excellent story. brave telling. infused with subtle layers. unexpected and liberating end. will make you feel like writing and going on an adventure at the same time. (parachuting with a notebook...anyone?)
Jan 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This little tome made me just go, "Wow" after I finished reading it. Beautifully written, this is a touching story about a man and his father, a certain sliver of their family history, life, death. I just really loved it.

Nicely designed, too by Rich Kegler of P22 Type Foundry (cover) and publisher David McNamara (the insides). I urge you to buy and read this now.
Michael Riccio
Feb 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I can't exactly explain why I was so taken away by this book, it may have been the poetic prose that seamlessly carries you through the narrative, or just an incredibly empathetic protagonist. Either way, for a 68 page novella I was sucked in and only disappointed by how short the story was. Definitely worth a read, can get through in less than two hours.
Tantra Bensko
Nov 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful novella that fills in the holes in the heart with glee, and shelves imaginary books in there too, which grow more words when you aren't looking.

This book becomes more and more compelling as it goes further and further into explorations of the role of being heard, being read, being understood, even if really, we can't be understood at all.
Dec 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Smart design and an even smarter book; a moving yarn about fathers and sons and the ambitious attempt at cataloging a life to better understand it.
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
A short, punchy story with a narrator that seems to be equal parts Edward Bloom (Big Fish) and Scheherazade (One Thousand and One Nights). This is a great read for procrastinators, bibliophiles or anyone who appreciates a good yarn.
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A really marvelous story, reminiscent of Steven Millhauser, which circuitously links the narrator's memories of childhood and his father's obsessions to his current profession of library circulation director. It's about where stories come from—the literal place of origin—and where they go to after they're told, and there are some "eminently mullworthy" ideas about reading, writing, publishing, maps, and families.

It's elegantly written, and elegantly printed to boot.
Nov 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Such an interesting book - well written, thought-provoking, unusual. Very much enjoyed it.
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