The latest issue of Circa is bursting at the seams with great stories.
Some feature well-known figures, like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini in “The Last Escape” by T. C. Phillips and Winston Churchill in “Last Orders for Churchill” by Phillip Donnelly. Jack the Ripper makes an appearance in a short piece by Sean Fenlon and in “Three Not-So-Demure Ladies” we have biographical sketches of Marie-Josèphe Angélique, Lili St. Cyr, and Denise “Baby Face” Cassidy, translated by Susan Lemprière.
Then there are my favourite kinds of stories, the ones that follow the people on the fringes of more well-known textbook history. These are the people shaped or shattered by the larger stories we all know, these are people we probably never heard of. “Sideshow” by Charlie Riccardelli is one example, telling the heart-breaking story of the man who discovered the body of Charles Lingbergh’s kidnapped child. “Manassas” by Katy Bowman is another, giving a convincing portrayal of the aftermath of the famous battle of the American Civil War. And in “The Pillared Sepulchre” Alexis Larkin gives a new twist on the old story of the rediscovery of the lost remains of Saint Mark in medieval Venice.
And there are stories drawn entirely from the author’s imagination. In “The Inventive Step” by Andrew Battershill, we have the humourous personal history of the man who invented the vegetable.
One of the most compelling things historical fiction can do is evoke a previous time and a place so thoroughly that what seemed distant and unknowable becomes both enthralling and real. Jack Caseros shows us the excitement and the hazards of dating in Soviet Leningrad in”Give Me That Old Rock and Roll Music.” And in “Loyalty” Kei Ebata reveals the tense time faced by many following the bombing of Pearl Harbour in 1942 and the consequent detention of thousands of Japanese-Canadians in British Columbia.
Creative non-fiction offerings include “Fahrenheit, Electricity and a Flexible Flyer” by Tom Sheehan, a moving look back at his own youth. And in “Black Market”, based on real events, Annette Oppenlander shows us the deprivations in post-war Germany through the experiences of two young men.
I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I have!