Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

A Son of the Circus by John Irving

A Son of the Circus (1994)

by John Irving

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,166361,768 (3.57)55
Recently added byNaomiQC, klrrrrrr, Noah.A, private library, alo1224, momnrod, rlb655, lavanatta1, Martechrjensen
Legacy LibrariesJuice Leskinen
  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)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 55 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Never finished Never cared ( )
  busterrll | Mar 1, 2017 |
Definitely a mid-list John Irving novel for me. It's not the best thing of his I've ever read, but there are some fantastic details. This was the novel he wrote right after Owen Meany, I think, so there are definitely some strong residual images and themes from that book. ( )
  beckyrenner | Dec 29, 2016 |
I loved it. But then again, I'm weird. ( )
  trezzadude | Sep 7, 2016 |
Review: A Son Of The Circus by John Irving.

The book was lengthy, slow paced because of John Irving’s style of writing. However it didn’t take long for the story to captivate my interest. The murder/mystery plot and the many intricate themes were clear and essential throughout the story for the reader to keep track of the many scenarios and situations within the story. What I noticed about Irving’s characters was that they are always creative, different, no two alike, and the strange flaws he gives each character is what enhances the story.

The story begins with Dr. Farrokh Daruwalla, a fifty-nine year orthopedic surgeon who lives in Toronto, Canada. He is a type of bland person but his character seems to grow on you and his wife Julia is humorous, smart and knows how to handle her husband. They always go to Bombay during the year where most of his patients are crippled children. He is from India but he doesn’t feel like its home so he became a citizen of Canada. Twenty years prior Dr. Daruwalla was the examining physician of two murder victims in Goa. Now, twenty years later he has been introduced to the murderer.

He has met many people and something or someone triggers his memory reminding him of that event. He deals with many other orthodox issues and people throughout the book and near the end Dr. Daruwalla is able to introduce the murderer. To get to that point the reader has plenty of capers and situations to read about as sexual oddities, death, freaks, homosexuals, drugs, animals, quirky characters with weird issues, prostitutes, brothels, transvestites, circus people, dwarfs, priests, and monastery. There were twin brothers separated at birth who didn’t know each other. One was an actor but not an actor/the other becoming a priest but not becoming a priest, and it all keeps the reader interested and passing time until Dr. Daruwalla finishes his unusual story to his best friend, another doctor who is gay. Most of the story is really laid back but also complex.

There were many great parts within the story. I especially loved the way the story ended. I can’t say it was an exciting book to read and I would rate it higher if it wasn’t so slow paced and complex. I’m rating it for John Irving’s writing style, his creative characters, many unusual issue and events and for his clever ending. ( )
  Juan-banjo | Jul 19, 2016 |
Though the setting is Mumbay (Bombay) India and though the book describes the "Blue Nile" circus in details the novel has many other story lines, of which the most important is the growing human understanding in the main character, Farrokh Daruwalla. The novel includes a crime-story that links the other plotlines:

A series of murders take place in Bombay and nearby places. When this affects an upper-class club and Daruwalla's stepson is threatened, the killings are investigated by a sympathetic criminal inspector who long ago married a girl who had witnessed one of the murders.

Another story line concerns twin brothers who do not know each other at first. One is a famous movie actor starring in the Inspector Dhar series, which are scripted by none other than Dr. Daruwalla. The other is a Jesuit who causes all sorts of confusion when he arrives and gets on everyone's nerves. The twins meet when the Jesuit apprentice leaves his religious ambitions behind.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Irvingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Commandeur, SjaakTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original title
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Voor Salman
First words
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Het waren in de regel de dwergen waardoor hij steeds terugkeerde - terug naar het circus en terug naar India.
Last words
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:25 -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)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
93 avail.
25 wanted
2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.57)
1 19
1.5 5
2 57
2.5 17
3 192
3.5 45
4 210
4.5 28
5 115

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 116,099,709 books! | Top bar: Always visible