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A Son of the Circus MP3 CD – 28 May 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; MP3 Una edition (28 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423335996
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423335993
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.7 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,181,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Daruwalla is another iconic Irving figure... Irving handles this incarnadine combination of farce and horror with high speed skill, creating a compulsively readable book" (Guardian)

"[Irving] is at the peak of his powers... he plunges the reader into one sensual or grotesque scene after another with cheerful vigour and a madcap tenderness for life... entertainment on a grand scale" (Economist)

"More plot twists than the Ramayana and a cast of characters that includes dwarves, prostitutes, movie stars, tranvestites and at least one serial killer" (Daily Telegraph)

"Irving has given us that treat of treats, a wide-ranging fiction of massive design and length that encapsulates our world with intelligence and sugars the pill with wit" (Mail on Sunday)

"Daruwalla's quest for the truth is what sustains this book... a writer with the courage to follow this difficult journey while also exploring issues of poverty, racism and disease in a novel so full of humour is a writer to be treasured" (The Times) -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Paperback.

Book Description

A masterpiece from one of the great contemporary American writers. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Paperback.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is Irving in full-throttle "omniscient narrator" mode. All the craft is here, time jumps, foreshadowing, multiple viewpoints, non-linear structure, etc. The opinionated narrator leads the reader shamelessly through meanders in the plot. Though pace is arguably slow for the first half (of what is a long novel), the reader is amply rewarded with very funny scenes thereafter.

The theme is alienation, ostensibly that of the migrant, one who is not quite at home in the culture of his birth nor in his adopted land. But this theme also embraces the ambivalence the protagonist Dr Farrokh Daruwalla (an orthopaedic surgeon) feels toward Christianity and Catholicism, in particular.

Set predominantly in India, this novel brings to life the colour, smells, beauty, deprivation, harshness, and the conflicted influences and faiths at work in that land. Of course, being an Irving novel, there is nothing ordinary about Daruwalla's life. Continually drawn back to India to help crippled children, the doctor becomes fascinated by dwarfism and hopes to find the genetic basis for this condition through collection and DNA analysis of blood samples. This in turn leads him to the places where dwarfs are most readily available: circuses.

There is also a "writer's element" to the story, with the surgeon seeking creative expression through screenwriting for the Indian cinema. However, the surgeon's motives in this are again less than straightforward. He is creating a part - and an identity - for his stepbrother John. And John had a twin (Martin), separated at birth, who trains to become a Jesuit priest, bringing this review back to the above mentioned comedic scenes. Martin is a hoot.

This is an excellent read. Immerse yourself; don't rush at that cliff-edge of pages. In a fast-changing, messy world, spending time in this circus novel is perhaps as good a place to be as any. One way or another, we are all foreigners now.
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Format: Paperback
I bought my battered, brown paged copy of "aeA Son of the Circus" second-hand at Blossoms Book House in Church Street, Bangalore. A previous owner had left an old used Bangladesh Biman (airways) boarding pass inside it. I used this souvenir of a journey, completed long ago, as a bookmark. By the time I finished this long book, this fragile strip of paper was a mere shadow of its former self.

The book begins with some pages of "Author's Notes"(tm). These start with the words: "This novel isn'(tm)t about India. I don'(tm)t know India. I was there once, for less than a month". I strongly disagree with this. Irving may have only been in India for a short time, but he has certainly managed to write a beautifully detailed account of the parts of the country that feature in this lengthy novel. His eye for detail is amazing, as is his ability to fondly and sympathetically characterise the Indians who appear in the story.

On page 635 of my copy (published by Corgi in 1995), I read: " 'I'(tm)m going to tell you a little story about my mother,'(tm) said Martin Mills. Somehow, Dr Daruwalla knew that the story wouldn't be '~little'. The missionary wasnâ(tm)t a minimalist; he favoured description. In fact, Martin left out no detail". This brief extract summarises Irvingâ(tm)s writing perfectly, and accounts for the great length of this novel.

Page after page, the author keeps on introducing new characters bits of information and frequently goes off at a tangent with seemingly irrelevant sidetracking. I found this a little disturbing at first, but soon realised that almost everything that Irving introduces eventually helps to drive the plot later on. So, if you feel that you are not sure where the book is heading when you have read about 300 pages, donâ(tm)t despair!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Now a Canadian citizen, Dr Farrokh Daruwalla lives and works in Canada but spends some time each year in his place of birth, Bombay, and it is in Bombay and India that we spend our time with him. He maintains his own apartment there with a staff, and pursues his interest in the dwarfs who work in the circuses; and it is in the circus that is seems we might be spending most of our time - but the action does move elsewhere, and often back in time.

As we would expect with John Irving the story is far from straight forward, and includes in addition to the dwarfs, the low life of Bombay including beggars and prostitutes, actors and film stars, gays, transsexuals and other variations, twins, a handsome Bombay film star as much hated as he is loved, and an unusually honest police officer among others. Much of the action centres around the Duckworth Club, a very respectable club with a twenty year waiting list for members. But bringing everything together is a murder that proves to be more than an isolated case.

Farrokh, a family man now in his late fifties, becomes involved with the murders, he has a connection with the first, and he is there when the latest occurs, and his penchant for writing detective stories ensures his involvement.

The Son of the Circus I consider one of Irving's best efforts. Initially I must admit I did not find it immediately involving, but once we got beyond the circus and met met some of the other characters I was completely drawn in and found it captivating, with a number of very endearing characters - along with one or two villains.
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