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Nights at the Circus
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June 2018: Magical Realism > Nights at the Circus | Angela Carter | 5 sparkling stars

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message 1: by Idit (last edited Jun 10, 2018 07:37AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Idit | 1028 comments Nights at the Circus
by Angela Carter

I read few great books this year. But I never had the urge to recommend one as much as I do with Nights at the Circus.

From a personal poll of 3 out of 3 – I really really like Magic Realism. I love it when someone just tell me a good tale. I love it that an author uses the power they have over their world – especially if the story is based in 'the real world' – they are still the gods of their creation and their narrative.

Fevvers, an outspoken english circus star, a winged performer, an aerialist, tells the story of her life to Walser, an american journalist. She and Lizzy, her adopted mother/marxist/ex prostitute sidekick, weave a tale that is entertaining, witty and full of outrages characters.
Later on Walser decides to join the circus, to be closer to Fevvers, and as a clown he follows her to St Petersburg and later to Siberia.

The time is the last years of the 19th century, the characters are just delicious. Angela Carter comments on feminism, on writing, on time, on class, and many many other things. And she is doing it so so well.
Fevvers dialect is a mishmash of high and low. The metaphors are hilarious and not a cliche' in sight. The book is so inventive. I absolutely enjoyed every moment.

I combined listening with reading at the same time. The audio book is superb and I highly recommend it as well.

A quote from the beginning - on Fevvers origins:
"As to my place of birth, why, I first saw light of day righthere in smoky old London, didn't I! Not billed the 'CockneyVenus', for nothing, sir, though they could just as well 'ave called me 'Helen of the High Wire', due to the unusual circumstances in which I come ashore -- for I never docked via what you might call the normal channels, sir, oh, dearme, no; but, just like Helen of Troy, was hatched.


message 2: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 430 comments Have you ever read The Night Circus? Hands down, one of my favorite books of all time. I think you would enjoy it.


Idit | 1028 comments I haven’t read it. Will check it out though


message 4: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen | 1545 comments I loved this book and it was the start of my love for Carter’s works.


message 5: by Susie (new) - added it

Susie | 4488 comments Five sparkling stars? I must take a look!


Idit | 1028 comments Jen wrote: "I loved this book and it was the start of my love for Carter’s works."

Jen, which book of hers would you recommend next?


message 7: by Magdalena (new) - added it

Magdalena | 414 comments Going to have to add this one!


Tracy (tstan) | 1238 comments Such a great author!


message 9: by Barbara M (new) - added it

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2300 comments I'm hooked. Off to see if my library has the audio and/or the book.


message 10: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen | 1545 comments Idit wrote: "Jen wrote: "I loved this book and it was the start of my love for Carter’s works."

Jen, which book of hers would you recommend next?"


hmm, maybe The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories if you like fairy tale retellings. Otherwise try Wise Children which I'm reading now.


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