Ithaca's cooperatively-owned independent bookstore since 2011
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“Like the jazz in her debut novel, Warrell threads together the lyrical, effervescent story of trumpeter Circus Porter and, more importantly, the women who have marked his life. A beautiful, breakable, lovely mess; this novel is its song.”
— Melinda Powers, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
Passion and risk, fathers and daughters, wives and single women, jazz and soul: a "gorgeously written debut" (Celeste Ng, best-selling author of Little Fires Everywhere) about the perennial temptations of dangerous love, told by the women who love Circus Palmer--trumpet player and old-school ladies' man--as they ultimately discover the power of their own voices.
It's 2013, and Circus Palmer, a forty-year-old Boston-based trumpet player and old-school ladies' man, lives for his music and refuses to be tied down. Before a gig in Miami, he learns that the woman who is secretly closest to his heart, the free-spirited drummer Maggie, is pregnant by him. Instead of facing the necessary conversation, Circus flees, setting off a chain of interlocking revelations from the various women in his life. Most notable among them is his teenage daughter, Koko, who idolizes him and is awakening to her own sexuality even as her mentally fragile mother struggles to overcome her long-failed marriage and rejection by Circus. Delivering a lush orchestration of diverse female voices, Warrell spins a provocative, soulful, and gripping story of passion and risk, fathers and daughters, wives and single women, and, finally, hope and reconciliation, in answer to the age-old question: how do we find belonging when love is unrequited?