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Blind Voices [Paperback]

Tom Reamy

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Book Description

July 1979
"It was a time of pause, a time between planting and harvest when the air was heavy, humming with its own slow warm music." So begins an extraordinary fantasy of the rural Midwest by a winner of the John W. Campbell, Jr., Award for best young science fiction writer. One summer day in the 1920s, Haverstock's Traveling Curiosus and Wondershow rides into a small Midwestern town. Haverstock's show is a presentation of mysterious wonders: feats of magic, strange creatures, and frightening powers. Three teenage girls attend the opening performance that evening which, for each, promises love and threatens death. The three girls are drawn to the show and its performers-a lusty centaur, Angel the magical albino boy, the rowdy stage hands-but frightened by the enigmatic owner, Haverstock. The girls at first try to dismiss these marvels as trickery, but it becomes all too real, too vivid to be other than nightmare reality. Each feels the force of the show and its power to alter everyday lives: Francine is drawn embarrassingly to the centaur, Rose makes an assignation with one of the hands and gets in trouble, and Evelyn is fascinated by the pathetic, mysterious Angel, The Boy Who Can Fly, and together they plan escape. No stranger or more disturbing vision of the dark side of carnival life has been handled with such grace or conviction since Bradbury's vintage period. With a poet's mastery of language Reamy brings his circus of characters to a startling, fantastic conclusion. ABOUT THE AUTHOR TOM REAMY, at the time of his sudden death, was one of the most popular young writers in the Science Fiction field in recent years. His style is in the fantastic tradition of Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury, and BLIND VOICES, his only novel, demands comparison to such masterpieces as Bradbury's Dandelion Wine or Something Wicked This Way Comes.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Berkley Pub Group; First THUS edition (July 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425041654
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425041659
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.4 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 23 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,643,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! A lost coming-of-age masterpiece May 3 2007
By Wanderer - Published on Amazon.com
Note: Some immature Mormon has been slamming my reviews because I wrote some negative reviews of books attempting to defend the Book of Mormon.

So your "helpful" votes are greatly appreciated. A short review is not necessarily a bad review if it leads you to a great novel. I've just noted the general theme. Thanks

I loved this novel about a strange carnival that comes to a small mid-western town. The hero is a boy who gets caught up in a mystery.

Buy the old paperback with the cover showing a circus tent and wagon in the Kansas countryside. Not to be missed--the book cover and the novel.

It's too bad Tom Reamy didn't live long enough to write another novel. One reviewer said, "Not since Bradbury has a fantasy author so captured the dark heart of midwestern America." Harlan Ellison, another critic, asked, "How good is this book? It is breathtakingly good."

Two other great coming-of-age novels are "Summer of Night," by Dan Simmons, and "Boy's Life," by Robert McCammon. If you have missed these novels, you are in for a treat. I envy you. I bet you'll be glad you clicked on the following links.

Summer of Night (Aspect Fantasy)

Boy's Life
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blind Voices: Excellent Novel about the Fantastic March 21 2005
By C. Baker - Published on Amazon.com
When Haverstock's Traveling Curious and Wonder Show rolls into the small town of Hawley, Kansas the townspeople begin to stir. The magic and allure of seeing Tiny Tim, a mermaid, medusa, a Cyclops, a snake woman, and most of all, the Angel Boy, brings them all out to see the show. Are these unnatural creatures real or is it sleight of hand? Exactly how do they do that?

When Evelyn Bradley, a small town girl, runs into the show's strange but alluring Angel Boy, things begin to seem out of kilter and not quite real. There is both more and less than meets the eye with the odd collection of creatures surrounding the show. And strange things begin happening around town during the show's stay. As Evelyn delves into the mystery of the Angel Boy, things begin to get stranger and more dangerous, not just for Evelyn, but the whole town.

In Blind Voices, Reamy has written a novel that reminds me a lot of some of Ray Bradbury's best works like The Illustrated Man. The attraction of the traveling circus and freak show and the magic, wonder, and latent fear that surrounds them comes to life in this novel. Reamy does and excellent job of setting the novel in rural Kansas in 1920's, which you learn from the language and plot without it being mentioned. The story unfolds at a pace that leaves you wondering where he's going next until you find out the secrets behind the secrets. And once the story takes off, its becomes both a seat of your pants thriller and a tender love story at the same time. This is an excellent work of fiction.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic, love, evil in Kansas June 4 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Reamy's only published novel, we encounter characters of clear definition and some true magic. Our protagonist is capable of self flight, and the use of flying in this story is amazing. Throw in a love story that is charming and innocent, add some good old fashioned revenge and violence and you have a hell of little book. Makes you wonder what Reamy could have accomplished had he lived a little longer. Also, try San Diego Lightfoot Sue and Other Stories, his only other book. More magic.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary novel Nov. 24 2001
By Michael Scott - Published on Amazon.com
It's a shame that _Blind Voices_ was Tom Reamy's only novel. This novel is so extraordinary that it makes one wonder what Reamy would have been able to do if he had lived. First novels are typically choppy, but this one is anything but. _Blind Voices_ is a seamless tale of a small Midwestern town and the madman who comes and destroys their idyllic life.
The townsfolk are excited when a traveling wonder show comes to town. Everyone wants to see the Minotaur, the tiny man, Medusa, the Invisible Man, and the rest of the amazing attractions. One by one, the young townspeople are seduced by different aspects of the carnival. And the reader gradually learns that the charming master of the carnival is anything but.
This is a marvelous story of magic and human feelings. Reamy does a wonderful job of conveying the depth of emotions experienced by the townspeople as the world as they know it comes to an end. We feel pity for the Carnival leader's monstrous creations as they struggle with their humanity. Simply put, this is a wonderful novel and one that I highly recommend.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lost Classic April 27 2009
By DevoGirl - Published on Amazon.com
This novel was first published in 1978, shortly after the sudden death of the author at age 42. It's his only novel, although his SF/Fantasy short stories had also gained him some attention.
Haverstock's Traveling Curiosus and Tent Show arrives in a small Depression-era town in Kansas. The people are amused at what seem to be extraordinary, supernatural beings, but because they are mixed in with obvious fakes, most people shrug the whole thing off as a trick. But the circus really does contain supernatural beings, who are enslaved by the villainous Haverstock. The book follows three local girls whose fascination with the circus leads to sexual awakening fraught with danger. Rose falls for one of the roustabouts, Francine for the monstrous Minotaur, and Evelyn for Angel, a mute albino boy with powers to control the elements. The story is thrilling and evocative, but it's the love story between Evelyn and Angel that I liked the best. It's sweet, tender, and heartbreaking. I have reread this book many times and it always holds up.
But I have to wonder at the really ugly "American primitive" cover art I see pictured here. It has nothing to do with the story or any of the characters, and is really off-putting. The Andrew Wyeth-inspired cover of earlier editions captures the feel of the novel much better.

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