Blanche is thirteen years old, an albino, and tall for her age, but not as tall as her mother, Eugenie, who is a high-wire walker in the circus where they live and work. Blanche’s eyes are ice blue in an unblemished white face. Her circus costume is a black and red spotted leotard, crimson tights and red Dock Marten lace-up boots. Her hair is pure white, silky, heavy, and hangs to the back of her knees. She wants to wear black lipstick, black mascara and eye shadow to make the most of her natural attributes and look like a Goth. Eugenie will not, under any circumstances, allow this. We’re artistes, darling, not freaks, she tells her daughter.

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