A Son of the Circus by John Irving, Audiobook (Cassette) | Barnes & Noble
A Son of the Circus

A Son of the Circus

3.9 28
by John Irving, David Colacci
     
 

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"A SON OF THE CIRCUS IS COMIC GENIUS....GET READY FOR IRVING'S MOST RAUCOUS NOVEL TO DATE."
--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'

Overview

"A SON OF THE CIRCUS IS COMIC GENIUS....GET READY FOR IRVING'S MOST RAUCOUS NOVEL TO DATE."
--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


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Though there are flashes here of the dramatic verve of The World According to Garp and Cider House Rules , Irving's long-awaited eighth novel is generally a tedious affair: rambling; lacking suspense; devoid of energetic or lyric prose; sometimes verging on farce and other times almost as lethargic as the sultry atmosphere of Bombay, where it is set. Here Irving is concerned again with people who do not feel at home in the world: immigrants, social outcasts, pariahs because of physical handicaps, those uncomfortable with their sexual orientation. The characters include a Bombay-born physician and secret screenwriter who feels as much a foreigner in India as he does in his new home, Toronto; a movie star who is synonymous with the role he plays; his twin brother, who aspires to be a priest but doubts his vocation; assorted circus performers, dwarfs and cripples, prostitutes, transsexuals, policemen, Hollywood figures, a blonde American hippie, Jesuit missionaries and more sad folk teeming with strange quirks and shameful secrets. The plot revolves around the murders of prostitutes by a transsexual serial killer, who carves a winking elephant on their bodies, and the legacies from the past that bring the main characters to the hunt for the murderer. The hefty narrative gives Irving plenty of room to speculate on outcasts of all kinds, the volatility of sexual identity, the false lure of organized religion, the insidious evil of class distinctions, the chasm between appearance and reality. For those looking for his trademark leitmotifs, Irving provides two: falling into the net and allowed to use the lift . He titillates by equipping a character with a giant dildo. He includes a strange homage to novelist James Salter. His attempt to provoke readers into empathy for humanity's lost souls is admirable, but his novel does not engage the reader until the last hundred pages, and that may not be soon enough to satisfy those yearning for a seductive story. (Sept.)
Library Journal
A circus displays oddity and spectacle for our amusement. Irving wields his absurdist ideas, set forth in works like A Prayer for Owen Meany (LJ 3/15/89), to create a world with much the same feel. The setting is India, though there is little sense of locale (a circus being universal and transportable). At center stage is Farrokh Daruwalla, an alienated, middle-aged, Bombay-born doctor who returns to his birthplace to study circus dwarfs. Farrokh becomes entangled in a case involving a serial murderer who carves the image of a winking elephant on his victims' torsos. This storyline bounces around like the proverbial three-ring circus and features a cast of eunuchs, hippies, movie stars, transsexuals, and clergymen. Irving continues his obsession with potency (erections) and negation (mutilation and self-mutilation) using, for instance, a large hollow dildo as a central prop. This otherwise enjoyable read is hindered at times by a lethargic pace and lack of dramatic tension. Although not Irving's best, this long-awaited novel will be in high demand. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/94.]-David Nudo, "Library Journal"
From the Publisher
INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

“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

"A comical, contemplative thriller as richly woven as the finest of Indian carpets.... [The] novel to beat for the year's most rewarding read." The Toronto Star

"His most daring and most vibrant novel.... The story of circus-as-India is told with gusto and delightful irreverence." The Washington Post Book World

"Startling, haunting, flawless, unforgettable." The Edmonton Journal

"Breathtaking.... An epic tale of deception, murder, obsession and sexual confusion, Irving introduces some of his most memorable characters since Garp." The Winnipeg Free Press

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781561005758
Publisher:
Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
09/28/1994
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
4.28(w) x 7.26(h) x 3.35(d)

What People are saying about this

Robert Towers
[Irving's] most entertaining novel since Garp -- The New York Times

Meet the Author

JOHN IRVING was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942. His first novel, Setting Free the Bears, was published in 1968, when he was twenty-six. He competed as a wrestler for twenty years, and coached wrestling until he was forty-seven. Mr. Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times—winning once, in 1980, for his novel The World According to Garp. He received an O. Henry Award in 1981 for his short story "Interior Space." In 2000, Mr. Irving won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules. In 2013, he won a Lambda Literary Award for his novel In One Person. An international writer—his novels have been translated into more than thirty-five languages—John Irving lives in Toronto. His all-time best-selling novel, in every language, is A Prayer for Owen Meany. Avenue of Mysteries is his fourteenth novel.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Vermont
Date of Birth:
March 2, 1942
Place of Birth:
Exeter, New Hampshire
Education:
B.A., University of New Hampshire, 1965; also studied at University of Vienna; M.F.A., Iowa Writers' Workshop, 1967

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