Author(s): Steven Millhauser
The Barnum Museum is a combination waxworks, masked ball, and circus sideshow masquerading as a collection of stories. Within its pages, note such exhibits as: a study of the strategies used by the participants in the game of Clue; a dilettante who constructs an imaginary woman, and loses her to an imaginary man; and a legendary magician so skilled at sleight-of-hand that he is pursued by police for the crime of erasing the line between the real and the conjured. Ingeniously written, each exhibit in The Barnum Museum -- including the story upon which the movie The Illusionist was based -- will compel you to continue reading, luring you to the next. Originally published by Poseidon Press in 1990, Dalkey Archive Press in 2007, now available again.
Steven Millhauser's stories are as dense with minute realistic detail as a 15th-century Flemish painting, but they never fail to take a sharp turn into fantasy. Imagination is his favorite subject as well as his precision instrument. His fiction is about virtuosity, especially his own. But it's also about the way imagination takes possession of the world and the imaginer. Entertainment Weekly Imagine a funhouse gallery of fictive techniques and ideas, and you'll have some sense of these stories... 'A Game of Clue' delineates the line between strategy and chance in a board game while plotting the relationships among the players. 'Klassik Komix #1' is a riotous pop comic version of 'The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock.'.. Millhauser's distinctive mix of stylistic dazzle and erudite wonder will intrigue admirers of his Edwin Mullhouse, In the Penny Arcade, and From the Realm of Morpheus. Library Journal
Steven Millhauser is the author of numerous works of fiction, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Martin Dressler, and In the Penny Arcade. His work has been translated into fifteen languages, and his story "Eisenheim the Illusionist" was the basis of the 2006 film The Illusionist. He teaches at Skidmore College and lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.