Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
I’m in the middle of Kathryn Harrison’s novel Enchantments right now. The book narrates the events before, during and after the fall of the the Romanovs, through the eyes of “Masha,” Rasputin’s daughter. I’m enjoying it very much, and particularly admire Masha’s sharp, satiric voice. Having survived the revolution she finds herself in an American traveling circus. She proposes act after act to the owner, and finally hits on one that will satisfy him:
The idea had been to have two bears doing somersaults while I waltzed with a third, Hannibal, and an assortment of lions, pumas, leopards, and tigers sat on their haunches, looking at us….. For the Daughter of the Mad Monk to waltz with a bear to Strauss while a dozen potentially murderous animals watched was enough, even for Americans.