Most helpful positive review
74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
This hauntingly beautiful novel is why we read fiction.
on March 26, 1998
Jennifer Egan's The Invisible Circus is a triumphant first novel. The riveting plot and fascinating characters make this book a page-turner, and the thematic reflections on memory and family ties keep the reader thinking of this book long after the last page. The gripping plot is at once a mystery and love story: Phoebe goes on a quest to understand her sister Faith so that she can begin her own life, free from the bonds of the unresolved family issues that Faith's life and mysterious death created. The portrayal of the relationship between Phoebe and Faith reflects more insightfully the bond between siblings than any other description I have read. Phoebe's impulsive trip to Europe results in a beautifully written adventure, filled with engaging vignettes and believable characters. Ultimately, however, it is not only the well wrought characters or carefully constructed plot that makes you love this book. Rather what makes this book a cut above are the stimulating reflections on the nature of memory, the search for transcendence, and the impact of even fleeting relationships on shaping everyday existence. The Invisible Circus will haunt you, leaving you pondering the elusiveness of memory and the ephemeral nature of experience. Faith's search for 'real life,' and the tragic consequences of her search prompts the reader to reflect on the nature of the ordinary versus the unusual, the struggle for balance between routine and risk. Ultimately this book helps the reader achieve a moment of transcendence, the highest achievement both in fiction and life.