Publishers Weekly
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Jensen, a former art critic, longtime art dealer, and perennial fan of the weird (his last book was The Lives and Loves of Daisy and Violet Hilton: A True Story of Conjoined Twins), explores the lives, love, and tragic ends of two superstars of the Big Top's golden age, aerialist Lillian Leitzel and flyer Alfredo Codona. Both were born into the circus-Leitzel's mother was a famed performer in Eastern Europe, and Alfredo's family ran Mexico's Gran Circo Codona. Leitzel began training on the Roman rings as a young child and made her professional debut in 1902 at just 12 years old-the same age as her mother when Leitzel was born. She became an instant star. She was performing with the legendary Barnum & Bailey Circus in Chicago less than 10 years later when Alfredo first set eyes on her and fell madly in love. Alfredo was determined to win the tiny trapeze artist and master the elusive and deadly Triple, consisting of three consecutive midair somersaults; a decade later he'd perfected the stunt, and shortly thereafter he and Leitzel, a fiery couple, were wed. What follows is a shocking and heartbreaking denouement. Artfully choreographed, this act is sure to draw big audiences. 27 b&w photos. Agent: Eileen Cope, Trident Media Group. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.