Nights at the Circus by Angela CarterNights at the Circus by Angela Carter

Nights at the Circus

byAngela Carter

Paperback | March 1, 1986

see the collection 80s & 90s Nostalgia

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Winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction

From the master of the literary supernatural and author of The Bloody Chamber, her acclaimed novel about the exploits of a circus performer who is part-woman, part-swan

Sophi Fevvers—the toast of Europe's capitals, courted by the Prince of Wales, painted by Toulouse-Lautrec—is an aerialiste extraordinaire, star of Colonel Kearney's circus. She is also part woman, part swan. Jack Walser, an American journalist, is on a quest to discover Fevvers's true identity: Is she part swan or all fake? Dazzled by his love for Fevvers, and desperate for the scoop of a lifetime, Walser joins the circus on its tour. The journey takes him—and the reader—on an intoxicating trip through turn-of-the-century London, St. Petersburg, and Siberia—a tour so magical that only Angela Carter could have created it.
Angela Carter (1940–1992) wrote nine novels and numerous short stories, as well as nonfiction, radio plays, and the screenplay for Neil Jordan's 1984 movie The Company of Wolves, based on her story of the same name. She won numerous literary awards, traveled and taught widely in the United States, and lived in London.
Title:Nights at the CircusFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 7.72 × 5.08 × 0.72 inPublished:March 1, 1986Publisher:Penguin BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140077030

ISBN - 13:9780140077032


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great story and characters Recommended for fans of magical realism.
Date published: 2016-12-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from So-so It pains me to say this: this was not my favourite of Carter's. I've actually yet to find one of hers I either didn't like or wasn't immediately drawn into by her natural, Gothic magic. Nights at the Circus follows Sophie Fevvers, a woman who may or may not be part swan, as young Jack Walser is trying to decide as a young reporter following her across the world on her circus tour, more or less. Carter is always such a gorgeous read, no matter what she's done (Bloody Chamber, Magic Toyshop, etc.) but this was so weighed down with literary and historical allusions, and so much stream of consciousness that sometimes you'd be taken off on a tangent, arrive back to the original point and ask yourself, 'what just happened here?' The references, as well, to many different artists, authors, politicians, you name it--are overwhelming and at times so erudite you need to be ridiculously well-rounded in a lot of your education to catch them all. Not that this is a bad thing, if anything it encouraged me to read up on some classics, but it made it terribly difficult to get into and finish. I have great love for this author and would never NOT recommend this to a fan, but do so at your own risk as it is a tad rough going and definitely requires an active reader. If this doesn't satisfy, pick something else up by her as it is astounding work.
Date published: 2015-06-30

Editorial Reviews

"An ebullient tall tale . . . spellbinding . . . entrancing." —Los Angeles Times Book Review   "Loud, bawdy, and unabashedly sentimental . . . a wonderfully vital creation." —The New York Times   "Night at the Circus is good, clean fun—well, good fun anyway. Its raunchy moments are steaming, bizarre, at times unsettling, but there is definitely an appreciation here for love, sentiment, and entertainment." —Raymond Mungo, San Francisco Chronicle   "A three-ring extravaganza . . . Carter's brand of fanciful and sometimes kinky feminism has never been more thoroughly or entertainingly on display." —Time Acclaim for Angela Carter “Carter produced . . . fiction that was lavishly fabulist and infinitely playful, with a crown jeweler’s style, precise but fully colored. . . . Her books are . . . revered by fans of speculative fiction stateside and have influenced writers as diverse as Rick Moody, Sarah Waters, Neil Gaiman, Jeff VanderMeer, Jeanette Winterson and Kelly Link. Salman Rushdie, who became her friend, described her as ‘the first great writer I ever met.’ Yet her legacy has been a slow and stealthy one, invisible to many of the readers who have benefited from it. . . . Most contemporary literary fiction with a touch of magic, from Karen Russell’s to Helen Oyeyemi’s, owes something to Angela Carter’s trail-blazing. . . . If our personal and literary spaces feel more wide open now, she’s one of the ones we have to thank.” —Laura Miller, Salon “She writes a prose that lends itself to magnificent set pieces of fastidious sensuality . . . dreams, myths, fairy tales, metamorphoses, the unruly unconscious, epic journeys, and a highly sensual celebration of sexuality in both its most joyous and darkest manifestations.” —Ian McEwan