A life in the spotlight will keep anyone hidden. Julia Pastrana is the singing and dancing marvel from Mexico. She is heralded across nineteenth-century Europe as much for her talent as for her unusual looks. Yet few can see past her freakish appearance to the ambitious woman within. Orphans of the Carnival sweeps us from the music halls of Vienna to an attic in modern-day South London, playing out an epic tale of grit, love, music and the triumph of the human spirit pushed to extremes.
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 * Guardian * A rich and wonderful book -- 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 -- 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 *
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.