The Palace of Curiosities

Rosie Garland (HarperCollins)

“We are all horrors under the skin.” And it is around that brazen literary perspective that Rosie Garland fashions her titillating Victorian tale, bringing to life the filthy underbelly of Dickensian London from a satisfying humanist perspective. Though no stranger to the margins of gothic performance art---she moonlights as alterego Rosie Lugosi the Vampire Queen---this is Garland’s first book. Her intimate connection with the art of spectacle rings true in this offbeat and dark story of two lost souls: Eve, the Lion-Faced Girl, and Abel, the Flayed Man. When the two “freaks” find themselves in the Palace of Curiosities, they form a fast friendship that allows them to discover, together, the monster that is man. At turns unguardedly sexual and grotesque, sweet and tragic, this is one of the most unique books I’ve read this year from a fascinating new voice on the literary scene.

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