A Son of the Circus

A Son of the Circus

Paperback - 1994
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--The Boston Globe
Dr. Farrokh Daruwalla, reared in Bombay by maverick foes of tradition, educated in Vienna, married to an Austrian and long a resident of Toronto, is a 59-year-old without a country, culture or religion to call his own....The novel may not be 'about' India, but Irving's imagined India, which Daruwalla visits periodically, is a remarkable achievement--a pandemonium of servants and clubmen, dwarf clowns and transvestite whores, missionaries and movie stars. This is a land of energetic colliding egos, of modern media clashing with ancient cultures, of broken sexual boundaries.
--New York Newsday
HIS MOST DARING AND MOST VIBRANT NOVEL...The story of circus-as-India is told with gusto and delightful irreverence.
--Bharati Mukherjee
The Washington Post Book World
Ringmaster Irving introduces act after act, until three (or more) rings are awhirl at a lunatic pace.... He] spills characters from his imagination as agilely as improbable numbers of clowns pile out of a tiny car....His Bombay and his Indian characters are vibrant and convincing.
--The Wall Street Journal
IRRESISTIBLE...POWERFUL...Irving's gift for dialogue shines.
--Chicago Tribune
Publisher: Toronto, Ont. : Ballantine Books, c1994.
ISBN: 9780345398208
Characteristics: xviii, 682 pages ;,18 cm.


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May 29, 2019

An overly dramatic and soap operaesque offering from Irving, which included a few unnecessary character and storyline introductions. This book would have benefitted from some further editing. However, despite it's flaws, the book was still entertaining to read and included all of the usual John Irving trademarks that fans have come to expect.

Aug 17, 2017

A book about movies. At least it's not a book about an author writing a book because those kinds of books are even more tedious than ones that are all about movies and movie making. It's like after rappers get rich and all they rap about is how rich they are now. Completely unreal unless your family is rich and you've had a privileged life from the day you were born. Were your parents doctors who also were involved with making movies? If this were written today they'd all be Instagram celebrities because of being born with more brains and money than everyone else on the planet. I'm just a stupid American. Isolated on the west coast. Why am I reading this? The shelves at the library really have become slim pickings. I can't believe how bored someone would have to be to read such a pointless and LONG novel. Better time spent sleeping or shopping online. Maybe not but real close.

Aug 10, 2015

I wouldn't call John Irving old fashioned exactly, but he's never had much use for literary movements or trends. Of contemporary American novelists, he is proud to be heir to the Victorian novelist's long, densely plotted, colorful books. His eight novel "A Son of a Circus" can be described as the greatest Dickens novel that Salman Rushdie never wrote. It is dedicated to Rushdie and set in India. To describe the plot would be pointless, but it does includes a doctor who also writes screenplays, an actor, a serial killer, a golf club, a drug dealer, teenage prostitutes, the circus, and a dildo full of money. It is perhaps his most exuberant, sweeping, and ambitious novel and the Indian setting seems to have freed him up to really let his imagination run wild. It's a long book, but never a boring or taxing one. "Garp" may be his masterpiece, but this may be his boldest and best plotted book.

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 18, 2014

With his uncanny ear for language and talent for creating memorable characters, Irving takes us to the streets of Bombay for murder, mayhem and much laughter.

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