Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter - review by Gillian Greenwood

Gillian Greenwood

Flying Circus

Nights at the Circus

By

Chatto & Windus 295pp £8.95 order from our bookshop
 

To finish Angela Carter’s extraordinary new novel is like waking from a dream and crying out ‘But I remember it all. It was so vivid! It seemed to make sense at the time!’ And indeed it does, in a sense, make sense. It has its own internal logic supported by continuously recurring themes and imagery. It has the intensity of a dream which haunts you all the following day (the lurking tigers and flying women are sufficiently archetypal to make all schools of analysis happy).

There is something distinctly Dickensian about the book’s weaving narrative. And in particular about its magnificent heroine, Fevvers, a six-foot-two blue-eyed, unnatural blonde – the Cockney Venus. The characters are all bizarre in their own peculiar way, with the possible exception of Jack Walser, hero and ultimately reborn child, to

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