Stef Rozitis's Reviews > Nights at the Circus

Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 1981-1990, 5-star, gender, queer, romance, female-protagonists-challenge-2015, women-writers

The carnavelesque atmosphere gave it an almost gothic cast (though it was set too late to really be gothic) similarily it brought to mind steam-punk without really being that either. The whole clock that strikes midnight continuously, the speculations about the wings being "fake" all fits into the world of the brothels, houses of horror and circuses and creates this fantastical almost-realist picture (which of course eventually Carter stunningly rips to shreds, leaving the reader feeling suddenly naked...that is a warning rather than a spoiler).

Even though Walser is truly the protagonist the remarkable Fevvers is everything I ever wanted in a heroine- she is working class (and as classy as any experienced working-girl), loud, large (in all dimensions) gluttonous, avaricious, lusty (perhaps), opinionated, stubborn and "equipped by nature for woman-on-top" (according to the closing pages of the novel). She is courageous, irrationally romantic, loyal, generous, tender-hearted and STRONG. She mocks and quarrels with those she loves. She is oddly vulnerable about her appearance and oddly desirable considering her very strong embodiment in almost every page of the novel. She is supported by a great cast of characters from the political, capable and feisty Lizzie to the sensitive, man-of-the-world but also patsy, Walser; the arch-capitalist colonel, the princess...oh I can't number them all but the characters enchanted (and at times horrified me). I wanted to follow through every single character long after the plot had discarded them (there are three distinct settings to the book and the characters from each setting seem unable to cross into the next unless they are brought there by the circus).

Carter was obviously a well-read and thoughtful author, the book is full of subtleties (some sarcastic) and nods to all sorts of things. I also think many of my favourite more recent authors may owe her something (I can't help wondering about Philip Pullman's dark material's trilogy and Garth Nix's - Key's to the kingdom series) I can't prove either of them read Carter but I wonder...

Anyway a massively satisfying (though slow) read!
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Reading Progress

June 12, 2015 – Shelved
June 12, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
September 17, 2015 – Started Reading
September 17, 2015 – Shelved as: 1981-1990
September 17, 2015 – Shelved as: 5-star
September 17, 2015 – Shelved as: gender
September 17, 2015 – Shelved as: queer
September 17, 2015 – Shelved as: romance
September 17, 2015 – Finished Reading
October 24, 2015 – Shelved as: female-protagonists-challenge-2015
October 28, 2015 – Shelved as: women-writers

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