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A Son of the Circus by John Irving

A Son of the Circus (1994)

by John Irving

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2,879282,007 (3.57)44
  1. 00
    The Fourth Hand by John Irving (kpriester)
    kpriester: one of the tangents in the story continues
  2. 12
    A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (Booksloth)

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» See also 44 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
I continue to be a fan of John Irving.....the stories just go 'on-and-on' and somehow, i always want to keep reading. ( )
  JosephKing6602 | Aug 15, 2014 |
People keep telling me to read Irving, but up to now I've never really got into one of his novels. I picked this one up on holiday and made the effort to stick with it: I'm not completely convinced, but it was probably just about worth finishing.

I found it rather long and rambling, but with patches of very engaging detail. Research is clearly one of Irving's strengths, but he doesn't seem to be good at discarding material he doesn't need. Of the big plot threads, the one about emigration and deracination wasn't particularly interesting, but I did enjoy the way the book plays around with the conventions of crime fiction and with the way in which the narratives we construct about other people can come back and affect our and their lives. ( )
  thorold | Aug 6, 2014 |
My second John Irving, it was definitely a bit weirder than the first I read (which was The Cider House Rules). At first I found it a bit hard to get into; a lot of different characters were introduced and the story jumped around a lot. However, I got more engaged as it progressed and by the last third or so I was heavily engrossed in it. The writing, descriptions, and characterizations were of course wonderful, being John Irving. ( )
  sbsolter | Feb 6, 2014 |
Unusual subject matter, an Indian doctor, who lives in Canada but writes film scripts for a mega star in India and who just loves everything about the Circus! It doesn't come much stranger than that. Dr Daruwalla doesn't feel at home anywhere, so feels out of water wherever he goes. He goes back to India every year to his apartment, goes to his old club The Duckworth club for a taste of old India, but this year there is a murder, which harks back to one that took place over 20 years ago. Dr Daruwalla's journey towards finding the culprit, takes us through some very strange neighbourhoods indeed, and we meet some less than wholesome characters, but the book is somehow captivating and you just have to keep on to the end. Another very good read, with a quriky plot. Great I really liked it1 ( )
  Glorybe1 | Nov 27, 2013 |
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. ( )
1 vote presto | Mar 28, 2013 |
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John Irvingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Commandeur, SjaakTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Het waren in de regel de dwergen waardoor hij steeds terugkeerde - terug naar het circus en terug naar India.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345389964, Mass Market Paperback)

--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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:46 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

An Indian-Canadian doctor returns to Bombay to seek a cure for a disease which afflicts circus dwarfs and is caught up in a serial killing of prostitutes. The action is interspersed with commentary on the lot of social misfits: prostitutes, dwarfs, himself--the doctor regarding himself a foreigner in both India and Canada.… (more)

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