The Spruiker’s Tale

Catherine Rey



In a run-down shack in a godforsaken town on the edge of the Gibson Desert an old circus family has come to rest. Tarcisius the 100 year-old father, once ringmaster of the Queen Pigmy Circus, lies dying on the verandah. The vindictive matriarch Magnolita Rosaria, famous in her youth as Soto the Flying Lady, and now so fat she cannot walk, rules their three sons. The oldest is a soldier, an arsonist and murderer, the second a hell-fire preacher, a lecher and a thief. The third has a daughter, Trinity, who inherits Magnolita Rosaria's skills as an acrobat and sets the circus world alight. Her grandmother's hatred knows no bounds…

With this baroque tale of family cruelty and revenge, bred in the circus ring, and told by a one-eyed spruiker with a parrot perched on his head, Catherine Rey appears on the Australian scene fully formed as an author, with a voice that is rich, extravagant, dark, and compelling in its intensity.


Print ISBN : 1-920882-07-3
pp : 262pp
April 2005

About the Author

Catherine Rey,
Catherine Rey was born in France, and raised by grandparents who had lived in Australia. She now lives in Sydney. Her previous novel, Ce que racontait Jones, published as The Spruiker’s Tale by Giramondo in 2005, was shortlisted for both the Prix Femina and the Prix Renaudot. An earlier version of Stepping Out was published in France in 2007 as Une femme en marche.


Read the feature on The Spruiker’s Tale from the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Age

Australian Women’s Book Review