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The Invisible Circus

The Invisible Circus [Kindle Edition]

Jennifer Egan
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Mesmerizing. . . . Told with great assurance and power. . . . Egan portrays the sisters with a quiet, heartbreaking clarity." --"The New York Times Book Review""Wonderful. . . . Words glide through her fingers and enter the pores like cool San Francisco fog." --"Los Angeles Times Book Review""Brilliant in its authenticity and overwhelming passion." --"The Boston Globe""A trip that takes the reader through stunning emotional terrain." --"The New Yorker"

Book Description

From the bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prizewinning A Visit From the Goon Squad.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 528 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1780331223
  • Publisher: Corsair (19 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005RZB6Q0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #120,644 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Time has not been kind to this re-issue 19 April 2012
By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
Set in 1978, 18-year old Phoebe is living with her mother in San Francisco. Her father died some years ago, before her elder sister, Faith, a charismatic idealist and true child of the 1960s left for Europe where she died in 1970. Faith was always her father's favourite, While Phoebe's older brother, Barry, is now a computer millionaire, on leaving high school Phoebe decides on a whim to follow her sister's path to Europe in the hope of finding what happened in Italy and to finally understand her beloved sister's actions.

Jennifer Egan is best known for her Pulitzer-winning 2011 novel "A Visit from the Goon Squad". The Pulitzer Prize is always one of the more random of literary prizes but Egan's book was fresh and entertaining, and while a bit tricksy in format, carried it off well. "The Invisible Circus" is not a new Egan book, but rather a re-issue of her debut novel, first published in 1995. It's a far more straightforward narration in style. While re-issuing early novels from prize winners makes sound commercial sense, the question remains as to whether the book merits this.

"The Invisible Circus" is in three parts (well, technically, four but the final part is only a few pages long and is more of a conclusion). The first deals with the situation of the family in San Francisco, Phoebe's feelings for her brother and mother and in particular of her mother's emerging relationship with a new man in her life. Phoebe clearly doesn't like change. It's a quite brilliant opening. The nuances of emotion are beautifully drawn and I was enthralled by the characters and the situation. Phoebe is an engaging character initially, a little naïve perhaps but innocent might be a better description.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Family dynamics, destructive and otherwise 1 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jennifer Egan specialises in stories about how people run off the rails, and how sometimes they manage to save themselves. In this, her debut novel, the subject is defined with an assurance that speaks of deeply felt personal experience. Superficially the story may seem to be about the relationship between Phoebe and her older sister Faith, who has died eight years before the book begins. But Phoebe's image of her sister is the product of a family myth which is a damaging distortion of the truth.

Following a blind impulse Phoebe sets out to follow her sister's postcard trail across Europe to the Italian cliff-top village where she killed herself. For much of the narrative she seems in danger of re-enacting her sister's fate. But Phoebe is less damaged than Faith, and more resilient: her insistence on learning the truth about Faith's life and death is in essence a quest for a health and wholeness that cannot be found by any other route.

This is a wonderfully readable book about the dynamics of a damaged family; a vivid prefiguration of the considerable achievement of 'A Visit from the Goon Squad'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This book in essence is somewhat of a coming-of-age tale. The central character, Phoebe, is a shy and unremarkable late-teenage girl who has for several years looked at the life of her older sister with a great deal of awe. Her sister having become almost a legend in her eyes and a standard by which she constantly examines herself. Eventually the story leads into Phoebe's spontaneous decision to retrace her sisters footsteps over Europe, culminating in Italy where her sister committed suicide.

As a novel this book is tremendously emotional and touching in a way that a novel of its content should be. By the end of the novel there is a distinct feeling that Phoebe has grown up, her experiences having carried her from being a shy and awkward adolescent to an experienced young woman. The novel is written beautifully with descriptions that are neither intensive nor dismissive of what happens, treating very tenderly the topics that obsess the thoughts of the protagonist. Throughout I was constantly finding myself drawing comparisons with how I felt as a teenager, comparing experiences. In some ways I almost feel as though I went on the exact same journey, just that my memory of it isn't as clear as I would like.

I would honestly say that this is a superb book, though at the same time it is very touching and very sad. Perhaps the best book that I have read concerning sibling relationships as well as the thin veil between adolescence and adulthood.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good writer 27 Feb 2013
By Felis
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Another interesting and highly original novel with a more traditional structure than her later work. Very readable. Quite moving. A writer to watch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Phoebe & Faith are wonderfully realistic. 26 Jun 1998
By A Customer
I thought the portrayals of Phoebe and Faith, Phoebe's obsession with Faith's charismatic personality, and the down side of that personality, were wonderfully realistic. This is one of my favorite books.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking Backwards Through a Telescope 29 April 2012
Due to the popularity and prize-winning capabilities of A Visit From the Goon Squad Jennifer Egan's backlist has been reissued. This has given me a rare opportunity to read an author's body of work in reverse order. I've seen many authors mature (and deteriorate) as their body of work expands, but never before have I retraced the steps of a novelist's evolution. For 'Goon Squad' Egan played literary magpie, giving the novel a post-modern structure and multiple styles. Look at Me was a much more straightforward (if scarily prescient) affair. So as I travel backwards in time, how would I find Egan's début novel 'The Invisible Circus'?

Firstly, it is by far the easiest of the three to read. There are none of the literary tricks of 'Goon Squad' and none of the thesaurus swallowing prose that occasionally marred 'Look at Me'. This is much simpler narrative; a straightforward coming-of-age novel. Whilst less ambitious in scope, as you might expect from a first novel, 'Invisible Circus' is still highly readable and thought provoking.

It's 1978 and Phoebe O'Connor is eighteen. She lives with her Mum in San Francisco. Her father died when she was a young girl, and her older sister, Faith, died whilst travelling in Italy. The shadow of Faith hangs over Phoebe, in particular the circumstances of her death. She fell from a cliff, but did she jump or was it a drug-induced accident? Phoebe is reaching a crisis point in her life. Having lived in the shadow of two dead loved-ones, can she step into the light? More to the point, does she want to?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Corniglia lay across another bay, draped over a cliff like a cat on a...
Inspired by her Nobel Prize winning novel A Visit From The Goon Squad I went looking for her other work. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Eileen Shaw
4.0 out of 5 stars The Invisible Circus
I really enjoyed this book. It washard to put down. An exciting journey with lots of unexpected twists and turns.
Published 8 months ago by Mrs Katie Louise Wright
2.0 out of 5 stars spoiled
I loved the book - the plot and characters were deep and inspiring.
I listen to a lot of audiobooks and have always found the narrator to be very high quality. Read more
Published 14 months ago by she-reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this!
Amazing! I read lots of novels and was absolutely blown away by this one. Short chapters make it great for when you have only a few minutes here and there to read. Read more
Published 14 months ago by mags
4.0 out of 5 stars Enoyable and different
A good mix of fiction with fantasy but not too much. A very enjoyable and different reading experience. I would recommend if you need a change!
Published 15 months ago by jackal
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent as ever
Jennifer Egan is an extraordinary writer and this is an interesting tale, beautifully told as always, set against the background of the wane of the hope and promise of 1960's... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Paul G.
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book
I thought this book was a nice light read. I enjoyed the story line and would recommend it more for young adults.
Published 18 months ago by Holly M
2.0 out of 5 stars Left a bad taste
I loved the first half of this book. It started out so well in 1970's San Francisico where teenage Phoebe obsesses over the days in the 1960's with her enchanting free spirited... Read more
Published on 29 Feb 2004
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