Book Review: Nights At The Circus By Angela Carter

Speak to any author, any English teacher, any Creative Writing/English Lecturer, maybe even an English professor; and they will all tell you how amazing Angela Carter is. She’s the author who everyone talks about. She can whisk you away from the comfortable sitting position to a land of fiction with her detailed descriptions.

This is my first Angela Carter novel. I have come across some of her short stories, but never had the chance to read a whole book from her. I am so glad this one became my first, I am obsessed with circuses, I have no idea why; maybe I was a circus performer in a past life or something, but they fascinate me entirely.

This circus story is like no other that I have read. This circus is on a world tour thanks to its very special aerialist. The opening part starts off with her backstory. The aerialist is called Fevvers who we are introduced to along with Lizzie and Walser; the former being Fevvers’ guardian and the latter being the journalist interviewing Fevvers. We learn about where she’s come from and the how she got to where she is.

The next part of the story captures me entirely. Set right in the middle of the circus as Walser joins the crew as a clown performer; Angela Carter grips her audience in the beautiful descriptions of the characters, animals and the setting of the circus. She has an amazing ability to transform your surroundings into this stunning circus. Every aspect is visualised. You’re at the circus whether you want to be or not.

Sometimes her descriptions lose the readers; to this day I still have no understanding of how Fevvers ended up on the train to Siberia. I believe it was some sort of magic, but I don’t know how it actually happened. Regardless of this, I can’t deny how beautiful her descriptions are, placing me exactly inside every scene.

The last part was set in Siberia, this took the circus performers out of the circus. The characters had changed by this point, some may say they had grown, but I never saw their growth; instead they were transformed. The circus crumbled completely, and the readers didn’t change with the characters. The circus was no more, and even though the characters were happy about that, the readers may not have been.

As a whole, Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter is definitely a must-read. It manages to whisk you away to the circus like no other book I’ve ever come across. It’ll be one of those books that will become a classic in the future.

Are you a fan of Angela Carter? Is there a book you think we ought to review? Tweet us @Fuzzable and let us know.

Written by Jonathan Currinn

26-year-old writer, blogger, author and journalist. Graduated from Staffordshire University in 2015. I write under the name Critic Jonni, on my blog. I also write for Channillo, The Coffee House, Outlet Magazine, SPECTRUMM, and CelebMix. Follow me on Twitter @CriticJonni

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