Cirkus Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Cojoined twins love different men, disapprove of one-anothers choices. What sisters haven't?
Shanghai the dwarf, has a terrible childhood and carries a burdensome secret. Which of us doesn't have a tale of woe?
Mariana and her husband Jacob are living through betrayal and loss. Neither of them knows how to fix it. Sound familiar?
Once the strangness of these characters is stripped away this is a book about life and the toll it takes on us as we live it. I highly recommend it. And I am looking forward to her next book.
The first 200 pages of the book read like disjointed short stories going back and forth between the characters featured on the book cover. There's Shanghai, a fire twirling dwarf; Atash and Anna the Siamese Twins; Mariana the gypsy fortune teller and Jakub, her husband who runs the circus. We are treated to choppy glimpses into these characters lives in the circus and the affairs that connect them. One connection in particular is with Milada the acrobat, who is no longer with the cirucs, and who was a past lover of Shanghai. It is not made clear what happened to them until later in the book. These 200 pages are very repetitive though and very slow. The author "tells" you more of the story, rather than "showing" you which makes it very hard to connect with any of the characters and makes the reading a bit dry overall.
Another problem is the use of names. Mariana and Milada, both starting with the letter M, were easy to mix up in the beginning. Had the Siamese twins, Anna and Atasha, not physically been connnected, I probably would have confused them as well. An editor should have at least suggested a different name for one of the M characters. I found myself constantly consulting the book cover to look at the characters (there are 3 more pictured on the back) as I read, which eventually made me mad because I would have liked to conjure up their images on my own.Read more ›
But, after reading this I felt like I'd been put through the wringer of the author's issues played out by each character; and not a single one sympathetic. I felt manipulated by the author and as someone said....it just went on and on seeming like it would get better any chapter now.
Every character is secretive, lying, despairing, desperate, betraying and betrayed. It's a dark read with no happy endings except in the character's imaginations. It reads as a fictionalized account of someone who sees the world as persecuting and descriminating anyone who is slightly "different," or completely so and is subconciously projecting this into every character on the page.
Yes these people would be "freaks," however, I've always read the point of joining as a community in the "circus," was that they could find some acceptance in the setting. Everyone in this circus is manipulating or being manipulated and, during the story as it's told, no one gets even a glimpse of hope.
I cannot remember when I last read a novel in which there was not a single character I could like, or sympathize with. Nor in which there were so many characters playing out various shades of the worst of human nature, and none of the good. Very dissapointing considering the reviews!
Plus it just totally ruins all my happy notions of circus life; which, though hard was fulfilled by the sense of community and the rush of performing, as described in some other circus novels I've reviewed. In contrast to the well researched and historically accurate novels that actually contains just as much violence and sexuality and desperation but also hope, human goodness, redeemable characters and a general sense that the characters are there because they find their joy in their drive to perform and their destinies fulfilled there - at the Circus!
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."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was unusual. It took awhile to get into it, but once I did, I began to appreciate the creativity.Published 7 months ago by Reed
Loved this book! It was well written and held Mr interest to the last page. I didn't want it to end....Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
An incredible novel about self-discovery and loving who you are. Sometimes it takes a little push and sometimes it takes a shove, but with support, friends and family, becoming who... Read morePublished 17 months ago by K. Doescher
I'm sorry to the author to have to say this but I quit at 30% into this story. It was so dark, gloomy, and written rather choppy that I had a hard time following the characters as... Read morePublished 21 months ago by NJY
Hard to put down. The tragedies of what circus people go through. I hope it wasn't really as bad as this story portrayed.Published on July 10, 2014 by Patricia Vittetoe
Bought this, and then put off reading it because I was afraid it wasn't quite my type of book. Big mistake. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. Read morePublished on March 24, 2014 by Juliet
Like several other reviewers, I started this book with the idea I'd enjoy it. I liked "Water for Elephants" (which itself at times was heavy handed, but the protagonist,... Read morePublished on January 18, 2014 by S.S. Bush
Seriously didn't care for this story but only because it's dark and I didn't like where the author took the story. Read morePublished on November 24, 2013 by Siddyj