- nrlymrtl, 12/21/2010
What to read… what to read….Hmm…. Another sword and sorcery novel? Egyptian camel mystery? Viking historical fiction? Pacific Island travelogue?
How about a modern-day fiction set in India, Canada, and US? That sounds interesting. Hmm… Let’s see, Indian circus, dwarf taxi driver, an orthopedist, a set of twins separated at birth, a murder or two, sexually ambiguous characters, a dildo, a drug runner. A Son of the Circus, by John Irving, was a fifty-cent paperback I picked up from the library bookstore. It was a very rewarding plot-heavy story. It took me 50 pages or so to get into this story, but once I did, I did not want to put it down. At nearly 700 pages, I plowed through the first 500 pages in a week, and then found myself doling out the last 100+ pages because I wasn’t ready for the story to end.
The main character is an Indian orthopedist who was primarily raised in Europe and has settled in Canada. He returns to India, where most of the story is set, on a regular basis to visit family and friends. This provides a great vehicle for the author to point out difference and similarities in the two cultures. He brings in other characters that have mixed heritages and then some characters who hold steadfast to their preferred culture. Irving’s characters are complex and vivid. At the end of the book, I really felt that I had shared tea and chatted over knitting with these people.
Before reading this book, I had no clue who John Irving was. Some of his books have been made into movies, like Cider House Rules. This is another reason I love my library. By providing a fifty-cent book table, I am able to expand my reading horizons and support my library at the same time. If you see an Irving book on your library’s shelf, consider checking it out.