The leaves are changing and the air has turned cooler. The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is upon us again. It’s time to don your favourite chunky sweater, pour a mug of the hot beverage of your choice, and curl up with Circa‘s latest offerings.
We begin with two Canadian stories. The first takes an episode of more recent history as its premise. “The Barry Building Explosion” by Dan Crosby tells the story of the famous explosion in North Bay, Ontario, in 1975.
Perhaps you saw in the news about a month ago that one of the ships from the Franklin Expedition has been discovered. By sheer coincidence (honest!), we have a story about that expedition to find the Northwest Passage and its tragic end in Katharine O’Flynn’s “The Empty Corridor.”
The next two stories show how the stories from history still have the power to affect us deeply. “The Henry Sessions” by Tammy Gilbert explores the relationships among a group of university students fascinated by the Tudors. “Angels of History” is Katharine Blake McFarland’s recounting of her personal encounters with Paul Klee’s famous painting.
For lovers of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, Kathryn Liebowitz’s “Breakfast with the Brontës” recreates the authors’ sensitive and eccentric family up on the Yorkshire moors.
“Whisper It to Me”, Leigh Cuen’s story, features Esther, consort to the Persian king Ahasuerus. Before she intervened with the king, foiled a plot to murder the Jews, and became a saviour to her own people, Esther was a lonely woman, uncertain of her destiny.
Elizabeth Copeland’s story, “Il Vento di Candela,” set in Venice during the Renaissance, sympathetically traces the fine line that separates religious ecstasy from madness.
Stephen Wechselblatt’s “Every Man His Hour” is a sinister story set in an American auction house, where men were bought and sold and few could be trusted.
The final two non-fiction pieces bring to life another kind of slavery. “Dancing as They Drop, Singing as They Burn” by Elizabeth Kendall and “Caged Women” by Melinda Giordano are haunting reminders of how, in some aspects, little has changed and that many lessons of history remain to be learned.
I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I have!