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The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett
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The Troupe (2012)

by Robert Jackson Bennett

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» See also 8 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Man, I tried, I really did. I gave it 300 pages! But there was just something off about the pacing and the characterization. Regarding the latter, Silenus in particular seems to get angry over everything and anything for no reason. It doesn't add up to anything coherent. So I abandoned it at page 300. ( )
  TFleet | Aug 23, 2017 |
The story is a bildungsroman about a sixteen-year boy who joins the Vaudeville circuit to find his father. Based on picture on an old flyer, he tracks the man down and joins his father's troupe of players. The group has four acts, the last of which is the performance of a unique song; and this song is the raison d'être for the troupe's existence... [Man, when it was good, it was really good; but when it was bad it drove me crazy!] The story was original, fascinating, and challenging; but the heavy-handed use of similes vandalized the plot. The narrator did a great job with a couple of the male character's voices; but seems to be sort of out of sync with the internal meter of the book (maybe because of the way the story was broken up with all the similes?); and a couple of the voices didn't ring true, especially that of the young mulatto girl from New Orleans (She sounded just like the protag of the story both in tone and style.) ( )
  Tanya-dogearedcopy | Aug 21, 2016 |
This started out really well but I just could not finish it after about 60% of the book.
I picked this up after reading City of Stairs. Robert Jackson Bennett really tells a great story. ( )
  kaipakartik | Apr 30, 2015 |
George Carole desperately wants to join the vaudeville troupe run by the great Heironomo Silenus the man he believes to be his father. George questions people who have seen Silenus’s troupe perform, but they only vaguely remember the performance. They recall a puppet act, a strong woman or maybe another puppet show, a beautiful dancing girl and then nothing. The last act is mysterious and mesmerizing and is the reason why the troupe is being pursued by dark forces that are trying to envelop the world.

This novel is part creation myth, part coming-of –age story, part fairy tale, and part horror story. The world was created with a song that helps to prevent darkness from taking over. The troupe performs the song at the end of the show to strengthen the world. They are also constantly on the lookout for more parts to the tune. Throughout the novel different characters try to play God or creator with horrible consequences. This is the main theme of the novel, though it has a lot of other fantasy elements.

The first three acts are only there to keep the crowds coming in. The first act is a puppeteer with freaky scary puppets that reminded me of the movie Puppet Master. The second act, and my favorite character in the novel, is a strong woman named Franny who is wrapped from head to toe in bandages like the Bride of Frankenstein and acts like a somnambulant. Franny and the mute cellist Stanley are the most sympathetic characters in the story. The third act is a beautiful dancer who claims to be a Persian princess.

George is sixteen at the beginning of the book. The story is a journey of discovery for him. He learns who he is, where he came from and how he is different from others. He has an unrequited love and in the end a long lasting true love.

Yes, with all this going on the author has time to through in some fairies. These are strange intriguing characters who wear masks to hide their years. They are sadistic, cruel, self-absorbed and cunning like most interpretations of fairies. Oh, and did I mention the Greek gods of the north, south, east and west winds? They make an appearance as well.

With all these elements going on in the story it was still a coherent narrative. How George fixes everything in the end is a little far-fetched, but I enjoyed the ride. The story moves fast and I looked forward to picking the book up and continuing reading to see what was coming up next. ( )
  craso | Mar 1, 2014 |
WOW!

I was completely blown away by this book! Robert Bennett has written a truly mesmerizing novel that engrosses the reader and transports them to another dimension.

The story is about George Carole, a young man looking for his father, a vaudevillian actor. But it's more than that. It's a story about light vs dark, creation, mankind, love, heartache, sacrifices and the universal question of "Why?"

The author is a master storyteller creating a deep story well written, flowing seamlessly and succinctly. Mr. Bennett creates characters that are deep, endearing, believable and human.

This story begs me to use the term 'achingly beautiful'. I don't think I have ever used that term before but it feels so right. The author expertly weaves his prose evoking strong emotions from the reader leaving you breathless and wanting for more.

As I read this book, I found myself constantly thinking and asking questions about life in general. I also found this novel to have a strong underlying religious component to it. Several passages reminded me of Biblical stories and the issue of ethics.

An extremely deep, well rounded story! ( )
  NancyNo5 | Sep 28, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Jackson Bennettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Benshoff, KirkCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is for Jackson for whom the sun was created to rise and set upon. Of course.
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Friday mornings at Otterman's Vaudeville Theater generally had a very relaxed pace to them, and so far this one was no exception.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316187526, Paperback)

Vaudeville: mad, mercenary, dreamy, and absurd, a world of clashing cultures and ferocious showmanship and wickedly delightful deceptions.

But sixteen-year-old pianist George Carole has joined vaudeville for one reason only: to find the man he suspects to be his father, the great Heironomo Silenus. Yet as he chases down his father's troupe, he begins to understand that their performances are strange even for vaudeville: for wherever they happen to tour, the very nature of the world seems to change.

Because there is a secret within Silenus's show so ancient and dangerous that it has won him many powerful enemies. And it's not until after he joins them that George realizes the troupe is not simply touring: they are running for their lives.

And soon...he is as well.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:37 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Sixeen year-old George Carole, uncommonly gifted at the piano, falls in with a strange troupe -- and under the watchful eye of the enigmatic figure of Silenus, George comes to realize that the members of the troupe are more than they appear to be.

» see all 3 descriptions

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Orbit Books

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