Ascension by Steven Galloway.
Steven Galloway also wrote the ‘Cellist of Sarajevo’ and this book, is again, worth every minute of your reading time you spend on it.
The opening chapter introduces us to Salvo Usari who is about to wire walk between the twin towers. There are several things yoy need to know if you are going to walk the high wire; 1) you need to forget how to fall, because falling means death. You cannot fall, no matter how high the wire you are not allowed to fall. 2) You need to know how to able to stand still for as long as necessary. 3) Whilst up so high you need to be aware of the wind, which can appear at any time and knock you off. 4) Very high buildings move when the wind blows slackening the wire, but it is not the slackening of the wire that is the problem, but the tightening afterwards, which can cause you to spring upwards from the wire leaving several inches between you and the wire. 5) You never let go of the pole; the pole is balance and balance is safety. 6) While walking the wire, you must forget everything else.
The beginning of the book is also the end. Does he make it? You will have to read it to find out.
The chapter begins when Salvo, a Rom is 10-years-old, living in Hungary with his parents, brother Andras and baby Etel. No one likes a Rom and most people keep clear of them as they think they are bad luck. When Salvo’s father fails to secure the church cross back to its original place, on the tower and it falls killing the Priest, they try to flee, but Salvo and Andras are not in the house the angry villagers come to their house and when they won’t come out, set fire to it. Salvo watches the house burns and then flees. Andras comes back to the house and finds Etel alive and believing Salvo to also be dead he leaves.
Salvo turns up at his Aunt’s house in Budapest. She takes him in and tends to him for several years until he does something that turns them against them and he is made to leave. He is now 15-years-old. He begins to do balancing acts and is eventually found by a man who employs him in his show, wire walking, this is in Europe. At one of the these shows is a man from one of the big circus families in American and Salvo, his brother, his sister and a friend Migrat end up performing all over America. Until one tragedy after another strikes and after several years of fame and fortune the circuses and Usari’s are no more.
And the story within this book goes on and on and you don’t want it to end. Beautifully written. Wonderful, believable characters. It will make you tingle one minute and hold your breath the next. And before you know it you have been led through 55-years of history of the circus in Europe and America and you are back with Salvo walking the wire for the last time before he retires.
If you enjoy a good story this is definitely one to read. And if like i, you find out after you have read a few pages that you have read it before, you will still want to carry on reading yet again.
Light Shinning in the Forest by Paul Torday,
(Also wrote; Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.)
The Intuitive Dance by Atherton Drenth.
A Netgalley pre-published book, which is due out on the 8 December 2016. This is one for those mystics among us and according to this book, we all are to some degree or other. About a third of the way through, not only is it well written, I am learning a lot too. Full review to follow on completion.