Nopti la Circ by Angela Carter
Angela Carter is a British author but I kept the title of the book in Romanian to remind myself what language my book is in. The English title is “Nights at the Circus”.
Similar to “Morminte Stravezii”, a previous inspiration for a post, the book was bought in Brasov, Romania. It follows the same story of being purchased from the sales pile from a little bookshop. Speaking of sales pile I bought two books on Thursday, Jan 27th because they were on sale. I couldn’t say “No” to a 1 £ book just like a couldn’t say no to a 10 £ pair of jeans, a day after, both gratifying experiences. They only ironic thing about the purchase was that I was so blinded by the price I didn’t pay close attention to what I was buying. The first one is the play “Six Degrees of Separation “ by Juan Guare and the second one …. well the second I just saw Margaret Atwood on it so I didn’t bother reading what it was. Plus since I have already a book by her at home, which is quite thick, this one by comparison was only about 100 pages so I just bought it. After the high of the 1£ pill wore off and I read the title I found out that is actually a literary review …. Pffft it may be a while until it is worthwhile reading a literary review since I didn’t even read anything by her yet.
So “Nights at the Circus”. I made a mistake before reading it. I googled the book. Usually I get curious about the author and I google them but this time I read about the book too. It is never a good idea to read someone else’ opinions about something before you give it a chance.
The underlying idea of the review was that the chapters built up towards something that never really came together well as a novel. They could work better as individual stories. So for some reason all through my lecture I was haunted by that comment and I felt like I was looking for ways to disprove it. Now looking back I can see where the comment comes from but I wouldn’t say that is the route I would take in describing it.
The book revolves around Fevvers, an exotic combination of a woman and a bird with a sequence of life stories as extraordinary as it gets. The book starts with Jack Walser’s quest to expose her as a sham and from the beginning the story can go both ways. It lured me into believing he will embark on a quest to discover the reality behind the fantasist stories. But instead of looking for the trick along with Jack, I stopped and enjoyed the transition into a fantastic world.
I liked the variety of characters although at times I found certain parts hard to follow. I appreciated her description as both exotic and very human at the same time. Fevvers burps, farts in public and still comes through as attractive, enticing and interesting, she is greedy but generous at times too. I guess a little bit like any of us. Rather than being so normalized it is good to admit that we are both capable of miracles and farting .. some of us even miraculous farts… Anyway loved the richness of the characters.
The ending was loud and surreal as the sight of a woman with bird wings.