Set in London during a killing heat wave, Eric Basso's 1982 novel, Bartholomew Fair,
unfolds as a terrible cataclysm is about to devastate the city. Begun in the Middle Ages as a religious festival in commemoration of St. Bartholomew the Great, over the centuries Bartholomew Fair passed through several metamorphoses. Now it has gone "underground." Its lone survivor recounts the story of the Fair's final, sordid incarnation, and the bizarre odyssey which brings him face to face with the unspeakable.
Rich in texture and atmosphere, this extraordinary novel is also a stylistic tour de force in which the history of Bartholomew Fair, whose long-dead voices come to life in these pages, haunts the clandestine activities of its modern-day performers and their obsessed patrons. Its strange cast of characters do their best to unravel the fabric of expectations. Basso has created a world that is darkly comic, sinister, moving and, in the end, unforgettably disturbing.