Welcome to the Circus: Stories

Welcome to the Circus, where every moment is a tightrope act, precariously balancing on the edge of destruction.

In these stories, a choir processes its collective grief at the loss of one of its members to cancer; a teenage boy marks himself with the poetry of John Donne; God explains the collapse of the cod fishery; Mata Hari stands trial; and two sisters try to reconcile their respective places in the family porn emporium business before everything blows up.

The ten stories in this collection explore love and escape — how we escape to love, escape through love, and escape ourselves and hold on to love. Together, the stories of Welcome to the Circus highlight the courageous, acrobatic circus acts we all learn to perform in search of love.


“This debut short story collection from Douglas contains 10 stories, all of which bubble with originality and daring. Douglas captures the voices of her characters perfectly within the different forms her stories take… Even in stories that take more traditional forms, Douglas’s skill and insight are evident as she explores recurring themes of love and escape…  This is an exhilarating read.”
– Publishers Weekly, February 16, 2015.

Rhonda Douglas has a knack for making the bizarre seem reasonable and deeply human. A resurrected Neandertal, a Job Creator of the Year pornographer, a John Donne obsessed cutter, God — these are just a few of the surprising characters in her circus. This funny, moving debut is a show you wont want to miss.
Caroline Adderson, author of Ellen in Pieces

Rhonda Douglass Welcome to the Circus does what great short story collections do: just when you think youre safe, caught in the ebb and flow of strong narrative, the stories surprise you with a shift of the bare and the raw, each with those flashes of insight that are most akin to the spotlit reveal of nakedness. It has perhaps the best thing that you can say about any collection: they may be stories, but they read like truth. With a vast breadth of style, from Paleolithic romance to the spare desperate needs of a businesslike sex club, Welcome to the Circus delivers. These are stories worth waiting for, and worth thinking about.
Russell Wangersky, author of Whirl Away

Pitch perfect . . . a triumph of understated execution.
Joan Thomas, author of The Opening Sky (Prairie Fire jury comments on prize-winning story “Cancer Oratorio”)

… Rhonda Douglas is markedly aware of the narrative challenge shes undertaken, Amber Dawn says about God Explains the Collapse of the Cod Fishery. The quirky tension between Gods macro (biological oceanography) and micro (the plight of [protagonist] Wilfred Green) dilemmas make [this] a surprising and utterly enjoyable read.
Amber Dawn, author of Sub Rosa (Room Magazine jury comments on prize-winning story “God Explains the Collapse of the Cod Fishery”)

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If you try all of the above and still can’t find the book, please email me and I will get ensure you are able to get a copy.

If you ask your local library, they can also order the book in for you. Authors receive a royalty for books stocked by libraries through the Public Lending Right Program of the Canada Council for the Arts.