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Cirkus: A Novel Hardcover – May 1, 2006
About the Author
Patti Frazee teaches creative writing at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. A native of Nebraska, she received her BFA in theater from the University of Nebraska/Kearney and her MFA in writing from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She received an honorable mention for the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice 2005 Emerging Lesbian Writer's Fund.
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Top customer reviews
In Cirkus you are introduced to a Czech circus come to America at the turn of the 20th century. There is a troubled Gypsy, troubled ringleader, troubled trapeze artist, troubled sideshow freaks... every character is bogged down by some sort of unresolved lingering issue, and the author then troubles herself to make the freaks as freakishly freaky as possible (and not in a I'm-not-supposed-to-enjoy-this-sideshow-but-I-do kind of freaky, but how-can-I-make-them-even-more-miserably-freakish kind of way.) Then throw in a little gender-queer fun to mix it up, and step right up ladies and gentlemen, the greatest show on earth.
None of the characters, not one, could I empathize with. None of them seemed likeable in any way. They were selfish, whiny, dependent, obsessive... and yes, I know that real people are often that way but to populate a whole book with not one redeeming soul? Yeesh. By the end I wasn't particularly sorry to learn of the sad fates of these poor circus folk.
Funny, though, I do agree with other reviewers that it is beautifully written, very dreamy and poetic, but it's so gosh darn dreary and that distracts significantly from the author's ability to create pretty prose.
People looking for turn of the century cirus lore may be disappointed. This is the story of talented immigrants in a Czech circus, trying to make their way in America.
This book should be required reading in college lit courses. It should be held up as a goal for aspiring novelists to reach for. The literate reader, as opposed to the "story" reader, will find this book worthy of attention.
The Kindle version did have a problem. Every time there was a "tl" those letters transferred as "d". So adverbs were troublesome, e.g. "gendy" versus "gently."
Quirky and with unexpected plot twists, I found this book to be very entertaining. Both conventional and unconventional people and emotions are well handled, and the reader learns something about them all. Looking forward to more from this author
Note - not sure why this is saying "paperback" - I did purchase and download it for my Kindle Touch
OK, that wasn't so bad was it?
I love that the characters were so well developed, and that no one is all good, or all bad, just very human. This is just the kind of book I like, it isn't a love story, but it has love, it isn't paranormal but has mystery.
This writer has totally avoided formulaic writing and tells a great story with an ending that can't be predicted by the end of the first chapter.
This is the type of writing I would like to see more of when I am reading books for review.
The name of the book is Cirkus, but that is merely the setting for a collection of humans with their own hurts. I do think the character of Jakob could have been fleshed out just a touch since he was pivotal to the climax.