Customer Review

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A web of mystery, 21 Jan. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Ringmaster's Daughter (Hardcover)
The main character of this novel is Petter, an only child who has an amazing imagination which he makes use of by constructing complex tales. When Petter grows up, he decides to put his talent for telling stories to good use. Although he does not wish to become an author, he is aware that others do, yet may be prevented from a lack of ideas. Petter then begins to sell ideas for novels to aspiring authors, taking huge delight in the thought that much of what may be published is, in fact, his own work.
Yet despite the apparent control Petter has over his enterprise, Petter's construction begins to show flaws. As Gaarder describes in the novel, Petter has spun his own web, hence the nickname of The Spider which is attributed to him, and like a spider's web, Petter's world is fragile. His anonymity is endangered and more seriously something else threatens the stability of Petter's world, something from his past. As Petter states at the end of the novel, it is something even he could not have imagined...
That is really a very brief synopsis of the novel. I have tried not to give too much away, as this book develops suspense as it progresses. As with all of Gaarder's novels, The Ringmaster's Daughter, is complex. There are a lot of ideas put forward for a relatively short book as the brief descriptions of possible book ideas are included within the storyline.
Having read all of Gaarder's novels, I was certainly not disappointed with his latest. The reason why I only awarded 4 stars is that the ending, for me, was not as good as I had hoped. The ending echoes Petter's brief book synopses meaning that not all questions are answered for the reader. My problem with the ending was at times I felt Gaarder was being perhaps a little too oblique (the chess references, for example, left me a little lost to say the least).
However, fans of Gaarder shall not be disappointed. An interesting read.
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4.1 out of 5 stars (11 customer reviews)
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