Book 768 Angela Carter – Nights at the Circus


One thing I definitely do recommend is re reading a book , nine times out of ten you will see it in a different light , maybe I should have done this with the other books I had read before when I started to tackle this list , but now the damage is done and I can only look forwards or is that backwards.

Anyway , when I first read Nights at the Circus back in 1999 I liked it, not loved it though, In fact I read Angela Carters short stories (which are amazing) and her last novel, Wise Children ( which is a vulgar romp of a novel) and I thought they were far superior than ….circus. As time flies, I have changed my mind.

The book begins at the turn of the 20th century and an American journalist is interviewing a woman with wings and the first part of Nights at the Circus focuses on Fevvers ( sounds like feathers) life. The second part has the journalist joining the circus  and his interactions with different aspects of circus and life , and the third act is about the circus train crashing in Siberia and the troop surviving. Fevvers plays an integral role in the last two parts as well.

This is a novel that is hard to pigeonhole. Parts are rooted in feminist literature , a good chunk is magical realism , there’s slapstick , Gothic horror and quite a few philosophical moments. It is beautifully written , with each word having its own special place in the book.  The one and only regret I actually have with this book is that I finished it. I took ages as I wanted to soak up each and every word. A momentous novel.