Review: Carnivalesque

Carnivalesque by Neil Jordan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I struggled with what to rate this book. On one hand it is so lush, the world within it so beautifully described and clever, on the other hand it felt sometimes so over described that I got bogged down. I adored the idea of losing yourself in a mirror and a different version of you stepping out. Someone who looks like you but isn’t you steps out as you slide in. Weirdly good.

The beginning of the novel where this takes place is just so good. Andy has been taken to the circus by his parents, he slips away and enters the weird magical world of the carnies behind the mirror, the ageless magical people who exist on a kind of mould which is scraped off the circus and placed into vials. As Andy enters the mirror another version of Andy exits, a sinister version. This Andy is cold and uncommunicative, his mum knows there is something amiss but cannot figure out what it is. Eileen, Andy’s mum was my favourite character. I desperately wanted her to get her Andy back, for things to work out for her. Meanwhile behind the mirror Andy becomes known as Dany and is embraced by the carnies and learns the job of a hauler, the person who pulls the rope for the aerialists. He also takes part in all the rituals of the circus, the magical and odd world they inhabit.

There is that same feeling that you get reading David Mitchell about this book. I wanted to love it to bits and at the beginning I thought that might be going to be the case, and while I enjoyed the experience of reading it, I felt that it could have been a little less flowery.

Thanks to Netgalley for giving me access to this book.

View all my reviews


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