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The Troupe Paperback – February 21, 2012
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"This is the kind of book that will find its ways into one's hands again and again over the years."―Booklist
"...a melancholy coming-of-age tale with a moody atmosphere... The Troupe is a genuinely powerful piece of work."―SFX
"The Troupe is true magic: a gripping tale that reminds the audience why we fell in love with reading. This book enchants, leaving the audience on their feet, yelling for an encore."―Mat Johnson, author of Pym
"Thought-provoking, beautifully written, and highly recommended"―Sci Fi Bulletin
About the Author
More About the Author
He lives in Austin with his wife and son. He can be found on Twitter at @robertjbennett.
Top Customer Reviews
Sixteen-year-old George Carole has been the house pianist at Otterman's Vaudeville Theatre for six months, but when he hears that The Silenus Troupe is playing in a nearby town, he quickly packs his bags and heads for the train station with only one thing on his mind: finding the man he suspects of being his father, the great Heironomo Silenus. George finally tracks his father down, but discovers something far stranger than the troupe's performances. The very texture of the night is different somehow, and time and space as George knows it has been altered, meaning only one thing: The men in grey are here. Let the show begin...
Bennett wastes little time in getting the story steaming and tooting along its dusty tracks, but sacrifices nothing in the setting of the vaudevillian scene. Greasepaint will skid on your fingers as you turn the pages, and your reading lamp will illuminate a faded backdrop, before which a top-hatted and moustachioed gent will appear on stage and regale you with the splendid and exotic acts that are to come. And splendid and exotic they are too.Read more ›
To be fair, the magic in the book is meant to be lyrical, mysterious, and not totally explainable in a clear narrative sense. After all, the troupe of the title is traveling around the country gathering pieces of an ancient song than can- alternately, depending on what character is explaining things- prevent pieces of the world from disappearing, bring back pieces that have already disappeared, and/or restore the balance of the universe itself. It's pretty mind bending, but, yeah, still a little vague.
Anyway, here's what works: the details about the troupe's grueling Vaudeville circuit (where an exhausting schedule doesn't prevent wonderful, strange performances); how the gifted yet misfit members of the troupe befriend each other as they daily confront their enemies and challenges, both natural and otherwise; and the many imaginative displays of magic and the supernatural- many small and whimsical, others downright epic and mind-blowing.
I did find the stakes a bit unclear, the nature of the magic often shifting and changing, and the story as a whole a little long. But I suspect others- especially those who embrace lyricism, poetry, and imagery over explanation- will be fine with most of this, and perhaps like it very much.
I will say this: this particular genre- fantasy unfolding in a real-world setting- doesn't usually grab me much, but in this case I had a pretty good time with it.
See, George has a little something special inside of him, and it's part of what makes him so valuable to Silenus and his troupe, because the troupe is much, much more than just a vaudeville act, as George will soon discover. The Troupe is, at its heart, George's coming of age story, but it's also a far-reaching magical epic. Set in a time when vaudeville and minstrel shows were popular, and horse and carriages still lingered, The Troupe is a book that you want to read without distraction, because there are quite a few big ideas in play. Don't let that scare you. The author manages to weave horror elements (wolves in human clothing and the grey men), with not so traditional fantasy elements (some rather terrifying fairies), and even southern gothic into a rich tapestry that you'll want to savor, bit by bit. There is a song that was lost when man and earth was created (The First Song), and Silenus' troupe has been gathering bits of it back together, in hopes of saving our world.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was good, but I didn't find it as good as the others RJB has written (that I've read). Most of the characters just didn't seem as well fleshed out; likeable enough, on the... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Ellen Morrison
Enjoyed the book from start to finish. A book to take on vacation or the beach to help pass the time.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Like all Robert Jackson Bennett stories, it's difficult to summarize the plot or describe the characters, so I won't try. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Laura McNamara
Another reviewer said the same thing I would have written - if you like Neal Gaimen then get in here! Read morePublished 4 months ago by Craig Daniels
This book is very well done. It has a suspenseful, interesting, and compelling plot. It tackles lots of ideas about the world, in a subtle yet powerful way. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Anna
lI don’t usually write reviews, mainly because I’m not very good at doing so, but I just had to explain to those oblivious to Robert Jackson Bennett as to why they should read his... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Kaleb Russell