New York: Viking Press, 1935. First Edition. Hardcover. 1st edition, preceding the London edition. Fine in a dustjacket with a few little chips to the spine tips, and short edgetears, else very good. A scarce jacket when it is this fresh, white, and clean (most others are so brown that they look like they have been dusted with the ashes of a cremated gopher), and it’s wrapped around an arcane and hermetic book, that was filmed in 1964 as The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao. Fine / very good. Item #899
One day, in the 1930s, The Circus of Dr. Lao appeared in Abalone Arizona and began to erect its shabby tents. The town–folk were curious, expecting a series of traditional sideshows, but instead found that the lives of everyone drawn to the spectacle were permanently changed by the mythical made real, all of it staged by the philosophical, elusive, enigmatic, and ever–reanimating, Dr. Lao. As the circus was exposed, it trapped Abalone’s people in a dark, secret, revealing web of sensual, shattering, and macabre magic and tragedy. The dead walked the earth, there was a sea serpent, a hound of the hedges, a Medusa, a werewolf, a chimera, an ancient god, a mermaid, a talking sphinx, witches, and most dangerous of all, Apollonius of Tyana, a remorseless, and far too truthful fortuneteller who augured empty lives having less fervor than the summer days of a lazy snail.
“Tomorrow will be like today, and the day after tomorrow will be like day before yesterday,” said Apollonius. “I see your remaining days each as quiet, tedious collections of hours. You will not travel anywhere. You will think no new thoughts. You will experience no new passions. Older you will become but not wiser. Stiffer but not more dignified. […] People will talk to you and visit with you out of sentiment or pity, not because you have anything to offer them.” –page 84.