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Cirko direktoriaus duktė: romanas by…
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Cirko direktoriaus duktė: romanas (original 2001; edition 2007)

by Jostein Gaarder, I (I)

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5951316,490 (3.62)16
Member:ElectricAlice
Title:Cirko direktoriaus duktė: romanas
Authors:Jostein Gaarder
Other authors:I (I)
Info:Vilnius, Alma littera, 2007
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:21st century, Norwegian, storytelling, writing, writers, circus, chess, murder

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The Ringmaster's Daughter by Jostein Gaarder (2001)

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English (10)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Hungarian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Second reads are strange. Particularly when they are about a decade apart. I still love Jostein´s writing but his content... His main character´s attitude to women rattles. And his attitude to people in general is rather too detached, which I can see my younger self loving. But while I still sympathy with how stories are the end of all of life for him, his complete disregard for human beings that he clearly understands SO well, comes off as creepy and psychopathic. If the character was not a grown man, I could maybe give him a little leeway but since his change of heart at the end is left incomplete and he´s almost fifty, it seems a bit unlikely that he will end up as someone I can think well off.

Anyway, it´s definitely worth reading if you are narratively inclined yourself, as the reflections on stories and storytelling are fascinating. One thing that he never seems to get that clearly, in his self-involved adoration, is that people who write are writers, and he himself is not superior for being able, in fact, being unable not to, come up with the plots and ideas for the stories but not to write. His feelings of superiority towards people who can actually TELL a story, gets rather annoying since THAT is the hardest part. I also found it quite strange that he never seemed very interested in any stories but the ones he made up, he mentions reading other books that those he inspired and even liking them but there is no love there. In fact, his early relationship to fiction seems to be born out of love but later it seems to feed a compulsion more than a passion.

( )
  Evalangui | Aug 22, 2014 |
Deu ser el libre més gros que he llegit en catalá, va de un noi i després un home que s'inventa moltes i moltes histories, té masses idees pero poder escriure-les o fer-les pelicules el mateix, i a més a més com que no el ve en gana, així que les ven. Les seves idees son tan bones i la resta del món tan poc original que es fa ric fent-ho però es molt important que es mantingui en secret que el es el "autor" de totes les obres famoses dels ultims anys, aixi que quan començen les sospites... No m'enganyo, es un libre per a escritors i tampoc per tots, es un libre sobre la creativitat i a mi em va a agradar perque de petita jo era exactamente el mateix que el protagonista, començava unes tres noveles semanals i quan una casualment va a excedir las divuit pagines(molt més que ninguna abans) vaig decidir que la escriuria exclusivament i per un temps vaig a ser mig famosa entre les meves amigues i me vaig guanyar a una professora de llengua molt dura pero al final tampoc la vaig a acabar i vaig continuar tomant notes per histories que volia escriure i mai escrivint-les realment...

Finally figured out this is the same as "The Ringmaster´s daughter", or, well, i think it´s the second time I realise this (I insist this title is much better than the original). ( )
  Evalangui | Aug 22, 2014 |
The Baltic Sea is well known for its amber, solidified resin from forests around 44 million years old, and frequently trapped in these deposits are various flora and fauna of the period. The most striking image in The Ringmaster’s Daughter, which symbolises one of its major themes, is of a spider caught in this matrix, just like its victims might be caught in its web. The story that gives the novel its title concerns a trapeze artist who falls and breaks her neck. As the ringmaster bends over her injured body he sees an amber trinket on a slender chain around her neck, which he recognises as one he had given to a daughter he hasn’t seen for years. The importance of this tale of the lost daughter is underlined by it being told, with variations, three times during the course of the novel, in the presence of each of the three most important women in the narrator’s life.

The narrator is Petter. I don’t think we are told his family name, but he imagines himself as Petter Spider; this is the Norwegian nursery rhyme equivalent of Incey Wincey Spider, who gets washed away by a shower of rain but then re-ascends a hat (or spout in the English-language versions). The ending of this web-spinner’s tale is upbeat, leading one to expect The Ringmaster’s Daughter to have a similarly optimistic conclusion, but there is no guarantee that this will happen. Tragedies have a typical profile when it comes to plotting their courses against success and time: an apparent rise in good fortune takes a disastrous dip, a rally being followed by a further descent towards failure (comedies tend to mirror rises with falls and vice versa). The profile of Gaarder’s novel appears to match the tragic model, but we are left in limbo by the end — will Petter untangle himself from the web he has woven and, like Robert the Bruce’s inspiration, try and try again? Or will the taboo he has unwittingly broken cause him, like Oedipus, to suffer the consequences for the rest of his life with no hope of redemption?

The root of Petter’s misfortunes arise as a result of childhood traumas. One, revealed near the beginning of the book, relates to his mother’s rejection of the first story he has ever composed — written on her bedroom wall; as a result he has vowed never to write a novel, to just stick to successfully peddling synopses and aphorisms, plotlines that pour out of him as a result of his wide reading and observation of people. The other trauma, the existence of which emerges towards the end of the novel (or biography, as this is how Petter the narrator sees it), gave birth to the Rumpelstiltskin-like leprechaun figure who haunts his waking life, an enigmatic homunculus whose origins Petter is understandably reluctant to fathom.

Gaarder is known as a writer who extensively utilises metafiction so that we can get confused if the primary world merges into a secondary or even tertiary world (as, for example, in The Solitaire Mystery): Jostein Gaarder writes a novel about Petter, who narrates tales about other individuals, including those whose roles feature in the novel’s title. Petter is born in Norway around 1952, as is Gaarder, and is successful as a spinner of tales, as is Gaarder, and travels to book fairs, as no doubt does Gaarder. But Gaarder is not Petter, his life appearing to have followed the graph allocated to comedy (if we accept the classical meaning of the word).

The frame of the story is set on the Amalfi coast, in the house where Gaarder’s compatriot Ibsen wrote A Doll’s House. I’m not familiar with this play (I only supposedly studied The Pillars of Society and Hedda Gabler at school) so can’t comment on any relevance to The Ringmaster’s Daughter. But the one play by Ibsen that I’m reminded of his Peer Gynt, which is not referenced in the novel but which has some interesting parallels to Gaarder’s novel. Both works share a name (Peer is a diminutive of Petter, the Norwegian form of Peter); both have elements of magic realism in that the real world and the world of the imagination coexist for both Peer and Petter; in both the protagonist has a liaison which results in an offspring whose arrival has grave consequences; each work has a being who is an aspect of the protagonist, the Bøyg for Peer, the homunculus for Petter. And both works try to answer the question, what does ‘being yourself’ mean? The Troll King says that humans claim to live by the motto, Be true to yourself but that for trolls it is simply Be yourself! Petter’s life has epitomised a selfish troll-like existence; by the end he realises that he has to take responsibility for his attitudes and actions which have taken a human toll.

Like a spider’s web The Ringmaster’s Daughter throws out gossamer threads in all directions. Sometimes I muse on the plots of Puccini’s operas which are referenced here (and of course Puccini himself wrote operas virtually overlooking the same sea that Ibsen saw, though a little further north); other times I’m reminded of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale which also features a lost daughter, Perdita; the tale synopses that punctuate the pages have the same bitter-sweet taste of the literary fairytales of Wilde or, particularly, Hans Christian Andersen, rather than driving inexorably to the expected ‘fairytale ending’ of traditional stories.

Only one thing I’m missing, and that’s a sense of the other people that Petter interacts with. All are seen through his eyes, of course, but because idealised or occasionally stereotyped they seem more like fairytale archetypes than rounded individuals. And probably that’s the point. His mother fails at being the ideal maternal figure, his hoped-for sweetheart refuses to be his anima, he is not to know his daughter, his only true creation; all humans are puppets on strings to be played with, victims enmeshed in a web. Perhaps all fiction writers are like this; maybe Gaarder’s metafiction is a meditation on the perils of playing God.

http://wp.me/s2oNj1-spider ( )
  ed.pendragon | Dec 20, 2013 |
Offered to the OZ VBB November 2013

Sent to WA 18 November 2013
  livrecache | Nov 12, 2013 |
In the past I have enjoyed reading Gaarder's work and I was looking forward to reading The Ringmasters Daughter. However, I got up to p95 and have to say I put it away. I hate not finishing a book, hate it! I will often fight to get to the end but on this occasion I just thought 'either life is too short or I am just not feeling Gaarder anymore'.

I shouldn't review a book I never finished and I suppose I won't review this fully. It is each to her/his own and other reviews give glowing accounts of this book which show how this rings true. I have to admit I was bored and the characters did nothing for me. The main character annoyed me and I just thought 'I really am not enjoying this so why bother?'. It is a shame because I have read many of Gaarders' other books and have really enjoyed them. ( )
  lilywren | Jan 7, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jostein Gaarderprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Joustra, CarlaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pijttersen, LucyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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My brain is seething.
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... naar mijn mening is het nu zover gekomen - in intellectueel opzicht bedoel ik - dat men zich kan afvragen of het niet tijd is voor een kleine cultuurpauze, zodat men even kan blijven stilstaan bij wat er is bereikt en kan verwerken wat men heeft opgenomen.

Johan E. Mellbye,
volksvertegenwoordiger voor de Boerenpartij
2 mei 1927
Zich losmaken uit de wereld van de media en de cultuurinstructeurs is als het betreden van een andere, magische wereld. Alsof je opnieuw de wereld van de werkelijkheid binnenstapt.
De tijd van dromen is voorbij.


Havard Simensen, jurist en columnist,
Aftenposten, 18 augustus 2001
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0753817004, Paperback)

Panina Manina, a trapeze artist, falls and breaks her neck. As the ringmaster bends over her, he sees around her neck an amber charm—just like the one he gave his own child before she was swept away in a torrent 16 years earlier. This tale is narrated by Petter, a precocious child and a fantasist, and perhaps Jostein Gaarder’s most intriguing creation since Sophie. Petter makes his living selling stories and ideas to authors suffering from writer’s block. It’s a lucrative trade, but as he sits like a spider in the center of his web, Petter finds himself in a trap of his own making. Jostein Gaarder is the author of Sophie's World, a huge bestseller in over 40 countries.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:45 -0400)

Panina Manina, a circus trapeze artist, falls and breaks her neck. As the ringmaster bends over her he sees around her neck an amber charm, just like the one he gave his own child before she was swept away in a torrent when she was sixteen.

(summary from another edition)

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