Friday, February 27, 2015

Review: "The Invisible Circus" by Jennifer Egan

As much love as I have for Jennifer Egan, especially her two novels The Keep and A Visit from the Goon Squad, this book is far from her best. It didn’t disappoint the way her shirt story collection, Emerald City did, but it fell flat in the same area. But since this is her first novel, and one that really isn’t famous for anything, I went in with low expectations and came out with them satisfied. It’s very much an Egan book, with memory, deceit and redemption all playing a part in a story with more than a few tangled up yarns that are always fun to unravel. But here, that talent is in it’s pupa stage, and is a little unsavory to watch as certain tropes and themes are handled so ham-fistedly by a writer who has great potential, but hasn’t done the work to quite catch up to it. The novel has a very basic structure, something her later novels do not. Phoebe, mourning the death of her beloved and idealized sister Faith, a product of the late 60’s hippie movement (I thought I was done with books like this), travels to Europe in search of what led to her downfall. She has brushes with menace until meeting a man named Wolf, who shares with her information about Faith, which helps each of them mourn her passing. The romance is too basic and saccharine for a book like this and a writer like Egan, and doesn’t detract from some of the boredom that I felt while reading this book, the same kind I felt reading Emerald City. With the exception of one scene where Phoebe is searching for a hostel after a violent assault, nothing in this book really stands out. Not really a bad book, I might add, but not one I’m going to remember from writer of two unforgettable books.

Rating: 3/5

No comments:

Post a Comment