LT / A circus only we know

12:00:00 AM

Jennifer Egan's debut novel, The Invisible Circus, is one of the most hauntingly beautiful works I have read in recent years. It's about Phoebe O'Connor, a young woman in the 70s, who re-traces the journey of her older sister Faith in an attempt to uncover the mystery of her life and death.

(image from the internet)
I looked for this book right after I saw the film adaptation on HBO during my college freshman year. Cameron Diaz played Faith and Jordana Brewster was Phoebe. It wasn't a particularly good film, but it definitely got me intrigued about the book.

Back then, The Invisible Circus was not available in Philippine bookstores. Luckily, one of my classmates, Lauren, had a copy, which she bought from the US. She sold it to me because she's already done with it, and she needed money for new books.
The novel somehow proved that I do have a proverbial heart, because I could almost hear it breaking as I hungrily read page after page. I never had a sister, but the book was so well-written that I actually felt and understood Phoebe's longing for answers as though the dilemma were my own.

Beyond Phoebe's journey, the backdrop of the 1960s was vividly described that I felt as though I was there. I was a voyeur, peering into the era from the pedestal of the omniscient. And as I watched the characters and their world move, I longed to be re-born in the 1960s.

An excerpt of Pat Conroy's review of the book is printed on the book's cover: "If there were justice in this world, no one would be allowed to write a first novel of such beauty and accomplishment." I am quoting Pat because I agree with her, and I could not have phrased my thoughts about the book any better.

The Invisible Circus would be particularly touching read for sisters, but I'm certain that this is something that even those without families would appreciate. I, for one, never had a sister, but I by the last few chapters, I was reading through a pool of tears.


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