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A Son of the Circus | [John Irving]

A Son of the Circus

Born a Parsi in Bombay, sent to university and medical school in Vienna, Dr. Farrokh Daruwalla is a 59-year-old orthopedic surgeon and a Canadian citizen who lives in Toronto. Once, 20 years ago, Dr. Daruwalla was the examining physician of two murder victims in Goa, India. Now, 20 years later, he will be reacquainted with the murderer.
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Publisher's Summary

Born a Parsi in Bombay, sent to university and medical school in Vienna, Dr. Farrokh Daruwalla is a 59-year-old orthopedic surgeon and a Canadian citizen who lives in Toronto. Periodically, the doctor returns to Bombay, where most of his patients are crippled children.

Once, 20 years ago, Dr. Daruwalla was the examining physician of two murder victims in Goa. Now, 20 years later, he will be reacquainted with the murderer.

©2007 John Irving; (P)2007 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Ringmaster Irving introduces act after act, until three (or more) rings are awhirl at a lunatic pace....His Bombay and his Indian characters are vibrant and convincing." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Irving's nimble humor springs from compassionate insights into cultural and sexual confusion and alienation, baffling questions of faith and purpose, and the kind of hope that thrives in even the most jaded atmosphere." (Booklist)

"His most daring and most vibrant novel.... The story of circus-as-India is told with gusto and delightful irreverence." (The Washington Post Book World)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (545 )
5 star
 (178)
4 star
 (173)
3 star
 (118)
2 star
 (39)
1 star
 (37)
Overall
3.8 (276 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (56)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (25)
Story
4.1 (270 )
5 star
 (126)
4 star
 (77)
3 star
 (44)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (15)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Emma Skövde, Sweden 10-19-13
    Emma Skövde, Sweden 10-19-13 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Entertaining"
    Where does A Son of the Circus rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Son of the Circus?

    Floating in the drink scenario.


    What does David Colacci bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Have not read the book yet.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    no


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela K. Metzger Madison, Wisconsin 01-11-13
    Pamela K. Metzger Madison, Wisconsin 01-11-13

    Kinsey Plum

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I DON'T KNOW HOW TO LOAD IT ONTO MY MP3 PLAYER"
    Would you try another book from John Irving and/or David Colacci?

    I can't wait to read anything by John Irving. I downloaded it onto my computer. I'm old and I can't figure out how to get it onto my darn MP3 player!!


    What could John Irving have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    n/a


    What didn’t you like about David Colacci’s performance?

    n/a


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    n/a


    Any additional comments?

    anyone wanna help me???

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia T. Henderson 08-13-12 Member Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    281
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not Garp but odd characters & plot contortortions"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Probably not unless an Irving fan.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Interesting information on dwarfism and the peculiarities of Indian society with regard to its underclasses.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    suzi san luis obispo, CA, United States 06-26-12
    suzi san luis obispo, CA, United States 06-26-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic!"
    What did you love best about A Son of the Circus?

    Oh, it's so difficult to describe what I loved best. This has turned out surprisingly to be my favorite of Irving's novels. Perhaps part of it is that I live in Asia and am interested in the idea of trying to write a novel with a protagonist from a different culture than one's self. But I feel that the book has an incredibly complex layering of plots, and India is a such a perfect context for Irving's style and tone. I love that there is a good old fashioned murder mystery in the story, and meta-layer after meta-layer on top of that, each plotline engaging and moving in and of itself. As complicated as a million piece jigsaw puzzle and yet beautifully laid out.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P.J. LANSING, KS, United States 06-12-12
    P.J. LANSING, KS, United States 06-12-12 Member Since 2014

    katsuey

    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    83
    57
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Skip It!"

    another one of those very few books that I simply can't get into. Where is the story? I've heard some other John Irving books but this one is a sleeper that you should pass up and find something with a worthy story line.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Merle Midrand, South Africa 05-17-12
    Merle Midrand, South Africa 05-17-12 Member Since 2012

    I am a glass artist, working from my studio at home. Audio books keep my mind stimulated while my hands are busy.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    21
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "amusing, entertaining, and humane"
    Where does A Son of the Circus rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    amongst the top 5, will listen to it again


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Son of the Circus?

    the dwarf saving the missionary from transvestites


    Have you listened to any of David Colacci’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no, I loved listening to this performance


    If you could take any character from A Son of the Circus out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    the doctor's wife - I would like to hear the whole story again from her perspective. She is the character that is left in outline, yet seems to be the one who is the most perceptive, always there to nudge the situation out of a stalemate.


    Any additional comments?

    The descriptions of India and life in India are the reasons to read this book, thoroughly enjoyable read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori 05-10-12
    Lori 05-10-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting but gets a little silly."
    Any additional comments?

    Interesting bits about circus life, India, transvestites, etc, but gets a little silly towards the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. J. Benyei 04-14-11 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    247
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    245
    36
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    12
    0
    Overall
    "Excessively verbose and comedy attempts fall flat"

    I like funny and quirky and mysterious, so I thought I would like this book.

    Its mildly entertaining, but not very funny and a LOT of the back story is just a HUGE waste of time. This was one of those rare audiobooks that, while it wasn't so bad that it annoyed me, my mind would wander to the point where I missed entire sections and I didn't bother to rewind it. I didn't even bother to turn it off if I had to stop listening to answer the phone or type an email. I just let it run and picked up again 10 minutes later.

    While some of the episodes might have been hilarious had the right joker told them, somehow they're not. Its like they tried for some Jacques Clouseau style moments but missed the mark. Ever hear a joke that made you fall off your chair, and later heard someone else tell the same joke and not get a single chuckle? This is the later. I can't tell who's fault it is, writer or narrator, (I'm leaning toward narrator) there are many situations that should be very humorous, laugh outloud on the subway humorous, but they way they are described, they simply aren't. One of these guys is a bad storyteller.

    As for the mstery... there aren't any major twists or turns, The author never tried to trick you into thinking its a different character, its pretty upfront. You have no reason to suspect anyone until the author tells you who did it. You just have to wait for the author to give you the information. There is no mystery "tease". Its okay, there are no glaring discrepancies, and it does all come together, I simply can't manage to care....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 11-21-10
    David 11-21-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Classic John Irving"

    I love John Irving and if you do, you know what's contained in his novels. Novels inside novels, writers, unusual sexual relationships, and a complete story. Having read many, but not all of John Irving's books, I found the story and themes contained in this lengthy book consistent with his other writings. The narration and characterization was excellent and helped carry the story. About Part III I got a little bored because John Irving stretched this one out a bit far--there were sections of the book that didn't contribute to the overall story at all--but then for entertainment, I guess that's ok. If this were Garp or Owen Meany, I think it would have rated five stars instead. The narrator was great, it was the story that was slow or too lengthy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gert Glenden, Australia 02-10-10
    Gert Glenden, Australia 02-10-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    90
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    97
    40
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Long tedious book"

    After reading A Prayer for Owen Meany I had expectations..... but alas, nowhere close. In it's own right a good story. But way to long. at one stage hoped that the various bad guys and "girls" will just die or get caught so that I dont have to read about them any longer.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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