The Invisible Circus

The Invisible Circus

by Jennifer Egan

Anne Ferber (10/06/11): This is Jennifer Egan's debut novel, although she had written a number of short stories prior to this publication in 1995. Since I loved her "Visit from the Goon Squad", I thought I'd acquaint myself with her earlier work.

The story is of a family in the era of the 60's with all the upheavel that that entails. Faith O'Conner is a full fledged hippie flower child who wants to experience everything adventurous and new. She runs off to Europe and lives a life of self indulgence and eventually deep confusion. Her younger sister, Phoebe who envies and adores her follows in her footsteps eight years later, feeling all the while that she, Phoebe, has "missed the boat".

The book is a refreshing reminder of those stimulating times (if you're as old as I am), but it seems to depend too much on coincidence and lucky discovery to keep the plot moving along. Since hindsight is 20/20, it's good to know that Ms Egan developed her talents way beyond the expectations of this book.
Rating: ***

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