This issue of the famed Antioch Review is subtitled, “Circuses and Art Museums,” and it does not disappoint on either front. In Cathy Day’s story, “The Last Member of the Boela Tribe,” circus life is explored in all its glory with its underbelly exposed as well. The same can be said for the essays on the state of museums in the world, such as Neil MacGregor’s “A Pentecost in Trafalgar Square” and “Pictures, Tears, Lights, and Seats” by John Walsh.
There is much here that is entertaining as well as informative. In Zdravka Evtimova’s story, “Blood of a Mole,” we are told of a desperate woman who goes into a small pet store looking for a mole. Three drops of a mole’s blood, she tells the shopkeeper, can cure her sick child. Having no moles, but wanting to help the woman, the shopkeeper goes out back and cuts himself, bringing back to the woman a vial of what he swears is mole’s blood. The woman returns with money and gifts, thanking the man for his life-saving mole’s blood. But by the end of the story his secret is discovered, and, as the shopkeeper notes, people push through his doors: “Everyone had a sick person at home and a knife in his hand.” Circuses abound. [Antioch Review, P.O. Box 148, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387. http://www.antioch.edu/review/home.html] - TD