Church of Marvels: A Novel

Church of Marvels: A Novel

by Leslie Parry

Paperback(Reprint)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062367563
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/17/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 267,896
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Leslie Parry is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her stories have appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review, The Cincinnati Review, and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, among other publications. She was recently a resident at Yaddo and the Kerouac House. Her writing has also received a National Magazine Award nomination and an honorable mention in The Best American Short Stories 2013. She lives in Chicago.

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Church of Marvels 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an excellent story, vivid characters and rich prose to be savored here. This is a book to dive into.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Atmospheric, info given out in bits enticing the reader, great storytelling intertwined with images of an earlier New York City. A great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the facts of life during that time interesting. Story was disjointed and difficult to read. Not a book I particularly liked.
SUEHAV More than 1 year ago
A little tricky to figure out in parts but glad I finished as all was revealed
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Def 100% recommend. To everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written with intriguing characters and a story filled with unexpected twists and turns. I didn't want it to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kind of dark and a depressing but a great story with engaging characters and not for someonne looking for a bit of romantic fluff but one who appreciates good writing and a real story----nancie
Shawscribbles 6 months ago
This is very unique and unusual tale. Shifting points of view through a myriad of characters, Parry tells a story full of mystery and intrigue centred upon a circus family. Odile and Belle are the twins daughters of the mother who started the Church of Marvels, a Coney Island sideshow. And they are both performers in her show. But when an accidental fire destroys the Church of Marvels, killing their mother, her beloved tigers, and the girls' childhood friends, Belle packs up and leaves while Odile is left to cope with the details. After a mysterious letter arrives for Odile, she goes in search of her sister, unsure of what she will find. At the same time, Sylvan - a nightsoiler - finds a baby girl from a privvy he is cleaning out. The infant appears dead but revives after a few minutes. Unable to simply drop her at an orphanage, he sneaks her home and starts the search for her family, certain that no mother could abandon a baby like that. What follows is a surprising action-packed adventure. The pacing in this book is perfect. And the characters are fully developed individuals with their own unique perspectives on what is happening in their lives. Parry doesn't shy away from difficult subjects and approaches them with a clear and authentic voice. The intertwining of narratives and the interconnectedness of the plotlines are brought together masterfully in the finale. The only weakness in this novel is its dark tone. This is not a happily-ever-after, feel good novel. But that's what makes it so real. Highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gritty. Unique point of views presented throughout. An interesting look after life around the turn of the twentieth century.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard to put down ,wonderful story full of intriguing characters . Highly recommend it and look forward to more from this talented writer
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this book.
ReadingFury More than 1 year ago
Reading The Church of Marvels was like being dragged through a house of horrors. The first chapter was so encouraging, and I purchased this book on the strength of the sample. It was a disappointment from then on. I certainly did pay for this book, well beyond cash. It is over the top and gratuitously gory. The characters' lives and actions make little sense until the very end of the novel; the plot is a twined, knotted mess that suddenly begins to resolve when we are finally given enough details about past events and character motivations, starting around page 190. Nothing like Night Circus, as some have said. I put the book down repeatedly because my absurdity meter had blown. The marvel is that I finished the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This engaging story of off-balance characters will hook the reader almost instantly. The author paints a fascinating picture of New York while interweaving the lives of her characters. This was a book that was difficult to put down.
MeganRath More than 1 year ago
This book is full of vivid descriptions an many twists an turns you won't see coming. It's part historical fiction, part mystery, and it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absorbing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unlikeable characters and the storyline was boring.
Myrtle-Ruth More than 1 year ago
Church of Marvels was a delight. With a cast of characters who, at the start, appear to be disconnected from each other, Parry deftly weaves this tale into a lovely and enticing tapestry full of rich scenes of turn-of-the-century New York. For people interested in period pieces with all the complexities of the human condition put on full display. Aptly titled: this story is a marvel. (Pun intended.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A lovely first novel with a great deal of history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TheAvidReader_KA More than 1 year ago
Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry is set in New York in 1895. Sylvan Threadgill, a night soil cleaner (cleaned out the outdoor toilets), finds a baby girl. He takes it home to care for it and find out who the baby belongs to. Isabelle “Belle” Church has fled from her home on Coney Island after the Church of Marvels burned down. Her mother, Friendship Church, and another performer died in the fire. Belle was the main attraction in the show. She is a contortionist and can swallow a number of objects. Her twin sister, Odile, wants to find her sister. She misses her and takes off to Manhattan to find her. Alphie was married to Anthony until one morning she wakes up in an insane asylum. Alphie keeps waiting for Anthony to show up and rescue her. When he does not show up, Alphie sets out to escape and gets help from Belle. Belle ended up in the asylum the same night as Alphie. At first Alphie does not remember how she ended up there and her story (along with Belle’s) is slowly revealed throughout the book. Odile starts looking for her sister and runs into Sylvan Threadgill. Sylvan helps Odile look for Belle. The Church of Marvels is a very strange book. I do not want to give anything away (spoilers), so I have tried to keep my summary brief (for me at least). We get to find out about life for the people that are different in 1895 New York (people born with deformities, work as actors, work in circus acts, girls that end up unwed and pregnant). I give Church of Marvels 2.5 out of 5 stars. I just did not enjoy this book. It lacks a nice flow. It is disjointed and confusing. Everything makes sense at the end of the book, but it is a long trip to get to that point. I received a complimentary copy of Church of Marvels from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I most def rate this book 100% and A+.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very slow and boring