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A Son of the Circus (Ballantine Reader's Circle) by [Irving, John]
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A Son of the Circus (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 184 customer reviews

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Length: 788 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Though there are flashes here of the dramatic verve of The World According to Garp and Cider House Rules , Irving's long-awaited eighth novel is generally a tedious affair: rambling; lacking suspense; devoid of energetic or lyric prose; sometimes verging on farce and other times almost as lethargic as the sultry atmosphere of Bombay, where it is set. Here Irving is concerned again with people who do not feel at home in the world: immigrants, social outcasts, pariahs because of physical handicaps, those uncomfortable with their sexual orientation. The characters include a Bombay-born physician and secret screenwriter who feels as much a foreigner in India as he does in his new home, Toronto; a movie star who is synonymous with the role he plays; his twin brother, who aspires to be a priest but doubts his vocation; assorted circus performers, dwarfs and cripples, prostitutes, transsexuals, policemen, Hollywood figures, a blonde American hippie, Jesuit missionaries and more sad folk teeming with strange quirks and shameful secrets. The plot revolves around the murders of prostitutes by a transsexual serial killer, who carves a winking elephant on their bodies, and the legacies from the past that bring the main characters to the hunt for the murderer. The hefty narrative gives Irving plenty of room to speculate on outcasts of all kinds, the volatility of sexual identity, the false lure of organized religion, the insidious evil of class distinctions, the chasm between appearance and reality. For those looking for his trademark leitmotifs, Irving provides two: falling into the net and allowed to use the lift . He titillates by equipping a character with a giant dildo. He includes a strange homage to novelist James Salter. His attempt to provoke readers into empathy for humanity's lost souls is admirable, but his novel does not engage the reader until the last hundred pages, and that may not be soon enough to satisfy those yearning for a seductive story.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A circus displays oddity and spectacle for our amusement. Irving wields his absurdist ideas, set forth in works like A Prayer for Owen Meany (LJ 3/15/89), to create a world with much the same feel. The setting is India, though there is little sense of locale (a circus being universal and transportable). At center stage is Farrokh Daruwalla, an alienated, middle-aged, Bombay-born doctor who returns to his birthplace to study circus dwarfs. Farrokh becomes entangled in a case involving a serial murderer who carves the image of a winking elephant on his victims' torsos. This storyline bounces around like the proverbial three-ring circus and features a cast of eunuchs, hippies, movie stars, transsexuals, and clergymen. Irving continues his obsession with potency (erections) and negation (mutilation and self-mutilation) using, for instance, a large hollow dildo as a central prop. This otherwise enjoyable read is hindered at times by a lethargic pace and lack of dramatic tension. Although not Irving's best, this long-awaited novel will be in high demand.
--David Nudo, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product details

  • File Size: 3764 KB
  • Print Length: 788 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 055299605X
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (September 22, 2009)
  • Publication Date: September 23, 2009
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002PYFVZ8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,755 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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