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A life in the spotlight will keep anyone hidden.Julia Pastrana is the singing and dancing marvel from Mexico, heralded on tours across nineteenth-century Europe as much for her talent as for her rather unusual appearance. Yet few can see past the thick hair that covers her: she is both the fascinating toast of a Governor's ball and the shunned, revolting, unnatural beast, to be hidden from children and pregnant women. But what is her wonderful and terrible link to Rose, collector of lost treasures in an attic room in modern-day south London? In this haunting tale of identity, love and independence, these two lives will connect in unforgettable ways.
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About the Author

Carol Birch is the author of ten previous novels, including Scapegallows (2008) and Turn Again Home (2003) which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. She has also won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and the David Higham Award for Best First Novel. Jamrach's Menagerie was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the London Book Award.

Reviews

Strange and beautiful . . . Captures the lost world of carnivals and smoky backstreet theatres with hallucinatory vividness * * The Times * * Tender and shocking . . . [Julia] has an intrepid taste for adventure and a stoical endurance of adversity * * Guardian * * Fascinating . . . Completely grips the emotions as it moves towards its heartbreaking end * * Daily Mail * * Orphans of the Carnival is a rich and wonderful book. Carol Birch can see a world in a grain of sand - and then furnish it for you, vividly and unforgettably. -- M.R. CAREY, author of The Girl With All the Gifts In this dazzling novel Carol Birch paints an extraordinary portrait of an extraordinary woman. Orphans of the Carnival encourages us to wonder what is revealed by the way a society treats those people who are unusual, who look different or who have their own unique view of the world. -- CATHERINE CHANTER, author of The Well Praise for Jamrach's Menagerie:'An imaginative tour-de-force encompassing the sights and smells of 19th-century London and the wild sea . . . Gripping, superbly written and a delight * * The Times * * Riveting. Birch is masterful at evoking period and place . . . A teeming exhibition of the beautiful and the bizarre * * Sunday Times * * One of the best stories I've ever read . . . A completely original book * * A. S. Byatt * *

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