Nights at the Circus

Nights at the Circus

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Nights at the Circus 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
richardderus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
BkC15) Carter, Angela, NIGHTS AT THE CIRCUS: *swoon*Yes indeed, I still agree with myself here. In these fill-in reviews of the over 100 books my RL (or F2F, whichever) book circle has read since 1994 that I have never written reviews for, I'm finding that some opinions have changed significantly. Not here. *SWOON*Whatever I tell you about the plot, which is unremarkable (boy meets girl-oid, etc.), is utterly overshadowed by one fact of the book: Fevvers. She is an aerialiste, the best in the world, and it's all down to her unknown avian ancestry, she tells Jack, the newspaperman who's in love with her (as who isn't?). See, she was hatched from an egg, and spent her post-menarche years as a living cupid in a bordello foyer. Now she's a six-two, winged sensation with only a nodding acquaintance with reality, since she's always lived outside its dreary confines in the bordello, which she helped burn down, and then with Col. Kearney's circus, where she's the star attraction.The novel takes us from London to Petersburg and points east at the tail end of the 19th century. We meet Lizzie, Fevvers' adopted mom (and probably a witch); the Princess of Abyssinia, a silent-through-trauma cat-tamer and lesbian lover of Mignon, the young lassie with the beautiful voice that drives a jealous spike between Fevvers and Jack; Christian the christian idiot who believes Fevvers is an angel fallen from Heaven and sets about sacrificing her to obtain immortality from god; and not least Col. Kearney himself, the profligate owner of the circus that's on tour, who is advised by his pig Sybil.PG Wodehouse writes a Monty Python sketch in the style of Virginia Woolf. Enchanting. Scintillating. Close to perfect. A bottle of Veuve Cliquot served in a crystal flute while sitting in the shade of an ancient oak in a summery forest glade.
sinistersister on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don't know how Angela Carter does it. Her prose manages to be intellectual, hilarious, ribald, heartbreaking, and beautiful all at once. I cannot understand how more people don't know about her! This story encompasses so much--feminism, relationships, isolation, alienation, equality, and even some political musing. One of the most brilliant writers I've ever come across.
isabelx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
But Fevvers, apparently, pottered along the invisible gangway between her trapezes with the portly dignity of a Trafalgar Square pigeon flapping from one proffered handful of corn to another, and then she turned head over heels three times, lazily enough to show off the crack in her bum.There is much speculation about music hall artiste Sophie Fevvers. Her act is no more daring than any other aerialiste's but her wings allow her to travel between the trapezes much more slowly. She admits to dyeing her feathers red and purple, but are her wings real or a clever fake? She is no small and graceful bird-woman but a statuesque cockney who seems awkward on the ground and in the air.The journalist who signs up as a circus clown to follow her on a tour of Russian and the USA comes to believe that knowing the secret of her wings would spoil her mystery - rather than being a miracle, she would be unmasked as either a fake or a freak.The touches of magical realism are subtly done; it slowly dawns on the reader that the Educated Apes and some of the other circus animals are rather more intelligent than average, and I had to re-read the section about the faberge eggs a couple of times before I realised how Fevvers escaped the clutches of the Grand Duke. A fabulous Angela Carter novel, which will keep you wondering throughout if cockney circus artiste Fevvers really does have wings, or if they are just part of the costume for her act.
polarbear123 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
THis is the first Angela Carter book i have read. It was part of the Guardian's 1000 novels to read before you die list which I have been trying to work my way through. I thought this was a superbly written novel with most sentences being a joy to nehold within themselves. There is a great mixture of realism and fantasy here with many larger than life characters. The joy is not so much to be found in the main narrative thread but rather in all of the wonderful side stories explaining each character's background. I don't say this too oten but I have to say this is essential reading and Fevvers will stay with you for a long time afterwards!
Crowyhead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fabulous, playful novel about a young woman who may or may not be part swan. It's bawdy good fun.
CR-Buell More than 1 year ago
Fevvers is the world's greatest aerialist. She stands 6'2" and has fully functional wings. Yes wings. She's loud, crass, and overtly sexual. She is everything a woman of her era is not. And that is the point. Journalist Jack Walser sits down to interview Fevvers in London, with the intention of proving her a fraud. But a strange thing happens; as Fevvers recounts her incredible life story Walser finds himself, like pretty much everyone else, falling in love with her. So he does the obvious thing; he runs away and joins the circus. As Walser and Fevvers travel through Russia we explore the often hilarious, and always heartbreaking, lives of the other circus performers. There's Buffo the great and terrible, and his retinue of clowns; the silent cat-tamer, known as the Princess of Abyssinia; the intelligent apes, far more capable than their handler; the terminally innocent orphan Mignon; and the cowardly strongman Samson. But most importantly we explore the meaning of Fevvers. Fevvers, the evolution of woman, metaphorically speaking, though physically depicted. Though Walser is deeply in love with her, he cannot truly understand or accept Fevvers. He will have to be broken down, erased completely, and rebuilt from the ground up before he is able to love her for who she is, rather than who he expects her to be. Carter's prose is beautiful, and Nights at the Circus is a deeply moving, and very funny novel exploring the themes of individuality, independence, and equality.
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I have not read this book and therefore can only offer a review on the shipping and handling which was excellent.