After years of selling patent medicines, Earl Beasley stumbled on the perfect curative; he began peddling oddities. Customers suffering from tired backs and rashes, ringworm, itchy feet, even goiters or gnarled knuckles could forget their troubles as they gazed upon the less fortunate. . . . Nothing improved the customers’ disposition better than viewing creatures more tortured or ugly than themselves.
How do we know ourselves? How can we be seen for who we truly are? How do we find redemption in a world that conspires to separate us?
This collection of linked stories from the midway of a carnival traveling through the Jim Crow South explores these questions.
Lyrical descriptions of the physical environs and the emotional landscape of each character function like a funhouse mirror, providing just enough distance and distortion to see ourselves more clearly. The sharply striated world of a century ago aptly reflects the tensions, divisions, and perennial shared yearning for redemption and belonging that mark us as human.
“The gift in From the Midway is helping readers find the divinity as well as humanity in the conditions that we all have in common, our mortality and our need to connect. For me the result was a book that made me feel in empathetic ways I never thought possible. Thank you Leaf Seligman.”
—Ernest Hebert, author of the Darby Series
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