Title: Always the Same Story
Author: Elizabeth E. Wein
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Circus, Contemporary, Tricksters
Dates read: 11th July 2019
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
5th sentence, 74th page: He knew they could not hear him.
Gus grew up on the trains, travelling around with his circus family. When he gets kidnapped, his unusal upbringing comes to his aid.
Growing up, I always wanted to be part of the circus. There was something that just seemed so romantic and worldly about being a part of such a family that I couldn’t help but imagine how fun and adventurous my story would be. As an adult, I kind of realise that it’s probably not that romantic and perfect. And I kind of like the upbringing and life that I’ve had, but this short story still manages to encompass some of that fun and intrigue that drew me in as a young child.
You would expect a circus child to be one that could do tricks, be like a strong man and just be generally quirky. The last thing in the world that you would expect would be for such a child to be a nerdy little book worm who wears glasses. Which, considering this short story is in a collection of trickster tales, worked perfectly. As did the idea that his unique upbringing is not only what gets him in trouble, but also what gets him out of it.
There are a few people in my life who are a little obsessed with trains, and the entire time I was reading this tale, I mostly thought of them. And clowns. But I hate clowns, so I focused on the trains aspect. I really enjoy the idea of travelling over country on a train and this helped to further romanticise that idea. I just won’t be as confident as Gus was during his adventures.