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An author who has projected vitality -- no matter what his subject (from good and Wine (1960) again pits his massive energy against the theme of a dying circus and a clown, Domino, about to retire, who is compelled to save the little show. Heading for Florida with his wife Belinda who looks forward to their secure retirement, Domino takes on the responsibility of the abandoned Cosmos Bros, show, takes on, too, the fate of the flyers, the clowns, the animals, their trainers, and all the other acts. He pours his ingenuity, his savings (and Belinda's) into the gasping production; he hurries over the line to avoid Georgia attachments; he loses a lion; he fires one son of a flying family -- another is crippled; there are two marriages that affect his ownership; and he is never, even with the weather, in the clear. Belinda leaves him, creditors catch up with him -- but Domino, now discarding all his clown's masks, goes on with Big Mama, an elephant, in the basic husking tradition. The light years' difference from the audience, the will to be ""knocked out trying"", the changes that an inexorable commitment force on a man- and all those who are with him in the death struggle- these make up a story which is always aware of the legendary heritage of a circus and the hold of each and all of its parts, even when reduced to bare existence. Symbols and signs are a peripheral part of a holding whole.

Publisher: Scribner