by Elizabeth Hand
Little Brown. 373 pages, $27.
IT’S THE SUMMER OF 1915, and fourteen-year old Pin Maffucci is living inside Chicago’s Riverview amusement park with her mother, who works there as a fortune-teller and dance hall instructor. Pin’s younger sister has recently vanished, and to protect Pin from sexual predators her mother encourages her to dress like a boy.
Pin’s mother doesn’t have to force her, though. Pin enjoys the freedom her new identity brings, which includes a job delivering drugs for Max, an opium dealer who performs as the “Half Man, Half Woman” in the freak show.