A Son of the Circus
Born a Parsi in Bombay, sent to university and medical school in Vienna, Dr. Farrokh Daruwalla is a 59-year-old orthopedic surgeon and a Canadian citizen who lives in Toronto. Periodically, the doctor returns to Bombay, where most of his patients are crippled children.
Once, 20 years ago, Dr. Daruwalla was the examining physician of two murder victims in Goa. Now, 20 years...more
The son of the circus from the title is Doctor Farokh Daruwalla, a somewhat surprising choice as main character that has to carry on his shoulders such a hefty narrative. At first glance he is a placid little man, of a rather short stature and rotund girth, neat and fussy but in general shy and insecure. As I followed his interior monologues for page after page I have come to compare him to a still pond that hides great depths beneath the calm surface.
as a Parsi and a Christian, a Bombayite an ...more
By Goodreads standards, two stars equals "okay". I wish there was something between "okay" and "I hated it", because tha ...more
I bought my battered, brown paged copy of “A Son of the Circus” second-hand at Blossoms Book House in Church Street, Bangalore. A previous owner had left an old used Bangladesh Biman (airways) boarding pass inside it. I used this souvenir of a journey, completed long ago, as a bookmark. By the time I finished this long book, this fragile strip of paper was a mere shadow of its former self.
The book begins with some pages of ‘Author’s Notes’. These start with the words: “This novel isn’t about In ...more
Yep, I'm giving up after investing so much time into this shaggy dog of a novel. I wanted to like it, really. Irving is one of my favorite authors and reading his stuff is always an unique experience. But this thing is ALL over the place: it doesn't know what it wants to be, or why. I can't keep up with the ever-expanding cast of characters nor can I find a reason to care about them. I don't know where the hell this thing is going, and I'm only halfway done. I just cannot keep go ...more
Unfortunately, this book was an absolute slog, to say the least.
The actual pl ...more
Joey: Hi, you look familiar with me. Have we met before? You must be … one of my friends on Good Reads!
GR: Oh, yeah! You are …Joey! ( overwhelmed )
Joey: And you are ...GR! Oh, it’s nice to see ya here! ( shaking hands with GR)
GR: Oh, yeah! As though we haven’t seen each other for ages! ( laughs)
( then she saw a book Joey holding) Oh, you must be reading something. ( trying to look through it) Wait ! wait! Wait! You have been rea ...more
The story is wacky, the main character Dr. Farrokh Daruwalla lives part-time in Canada and part-time in Bom ...more
Irving lets the reader know in advance, however, that (alth ...more
Dwarfs and beggars, whores and transvestites, murderers and movie stars and twins separated at birth, and the doctor/amateur geneticist/really amateur writer who knows them all...
Of what I’ve read, this is John Irving’s most sprawling novel yet, a wild circus with a half-dozen acts all scrambling for the center spot. Easily worth five stars, but I probably read it wrong. Often, with Irving, you can set the book down and come back to it after a long absense, or even just pick ...more
A Son of the Circus is about Dr. Farrokh Daruwalla, and his practice as an orthopedist, and his quasi-adopted son John, and his career as a screenwriter, and his unlikely connection to an idealistic but clueless ...more
I struggled for a while, trying to decide whether to continue reading or to put it down. And I am not certain why I didn't until the last 150 pages, and by that point I had a!ready read that far, I might as well finish the book. You don't connect with the characters and get you feel a need to follow the story to the end.
2 chapters before the end the main problem of the novel resolves itself leaving Irving two final chapters for wrapping up loose ends and believe it of not character development.
An internal problem was given to the main character in the fi ...more
A couple of months later I picked it up again and WOW it really did take off for me.
A fascinating story and set of characters, generally based in India, but I found it a shocking story at times. I've read several books based in India and I am always taken aback at the poverty, dire living conditions, insanitary conditions and the lack of human respect for women. It is very difficult to unde ...more
As always, I love his writing voice and the flow of the story. In this one, his nod to Graham Green is also a fun aspect of the story, a tribute to ...more
Mr. Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times—winning once, in 1980, for his novel The World According to Garp. He received an O. Henry Award ...more