The Invisible Circus

Jennifer Egan, Author Nan A. Talese $22.5 (338p) ISBN 978-0-385-47379-8
Suicide's undiminished impact on a family informs Egan's poignant first novel, the tale of an 18-year-old retracing her older sister's doomed excursion through Europe. As a child, Phoebe O'Connor felt less vital than her sister Faith. Their father, a frustrated artist, lived vicariously through the aptly named elder girl; Faith learned to please him by taking extravagant physical risks, and after his death, her apparent free-spiritedness masked the same desperate need to impress her peers. (The ``Invisible Circus,'' one character explains, was a late-'60s ``be-in'' that ``was all about watching ourselves happen,'' and Faith embraced this celebration of spontaneity.) But Faith lost faith-in 1968 when, on a trip with her boyfriend, she mysteriously fell from a cliff in Italy. Ten years later, Phoebe crosses the Atlantic, her itinerary mapped by Faith's falsely optimistic postcards, to learn how and why Faith died. The younger sister at first fails to realize that her impossibly romantic image of her sibling has left her suspended in time. She's leading only an artificial life dictated by a ghost, and Egan effectively contrasts Phoebe's rigidity with Faith's daring nature. Eventually, however, she discovers that Faith ``just threw herself away.'' Though the prose at times overexaggerates in conveying such extreme personalities, the author usually manages to keep it in check as Phoebe chooses her own future over Faith's forsaken one. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/1994
Release date: 12/01/1994
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-312-14090-8
Paperback - 356 pages - 978-1-78033-122-5
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-307-76518-5
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-330-48911-9
Paperback - 338 pages - 978-0-307-38752-3
Paperback - 978-1-78033-499-8
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-02842-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-62064-267-2
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-7927-8682-5
Open Ebook - 186 pages - 978-1-78033-216-1
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.