We recently published Kathryn Kulpa’s powerful “Warsaw Circus.”
Here, we ask her two questions about the story:
1) This story was inspired by the accompanying photograph — were there other stories this image brought to your mind, or was it always this particular piece?
I’ve always been intrigued by circuses and carnivals–I love Something Wicked This Way Comes–and they have made appearances in my fiction, but this one struck me a little differently. When I researched the image later I found out it was American, from a photographer who specialized in circus photos, but something about it made me think of Europe during the Holocaust era. Even though it should be a happy image, there’s an underlying tension that made me think the woman and the clown were hiding something. Circuses have always been a refuge for people who are outside the law for one reason or another, and I got the idea of hiding in plain sight–that this could be a dress rehearsal for when they make their escape.
2) Do you think they will make it? Do you think they will get across the border?
I think they do make it across the border, but I don’t think it’s going to be all Sound of Music climbing across the mountains and living happily ever after for them. Like any refugees, they may not be welcomed in the place they finally get to, and they may face other dangers along the way. I like to think that at least one of them survives to tell the tale.