The Invisible Circus: A Novel

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9780312140908: The Invisible Circus: A Novel

The high ideals and inevitable compromises of the 1960s form the background to this acclaimed novel. Phoebe O'Connor, eighteen years old in the summer of 1978, is too young to know the 1960s, but old enough to feel the anxiety of their influence. She is obsessed by the memory of her charismatic older sister, Faith, a flower child who died in Italy in 1970. Searching for the truth about Faith's death and life, Phoebe retraces her steps across Europe to the very place where she died. Her search yields more complex and disturbing revelations than she had wished for--about her sister and the generation she emblematized.

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From the Publisher:

The hope and heartbreak of the Sixties still linger in America's consciousness. In this breathtaking debut, Jennifer Egan brings to life the seductive pull of that era as it exerts itself on two sisters, separated by a decade, who take enormous risks to personify its ideals. It is 1978. Phoebe O'Connor, 18, runs off to Europe seeking answers about the tragedy that has haunted her family for eight years: the sudden dead of her older sister Faith while in Italy. To Phoebe, Faith epitomizes the youthful, chaotic freedom of the Sixties, and imitating her becomes Phoebe's way of trying to elevate herself from a life that seems drab and unsatisfying compared to the vivid spectacle that was Faith's. Once in Europe, Phoebe follows the itinerary Faith spelled out in postcards from her fatal trip, landing in London, living in a hostel in Amsterdam, taking a tab of LSD in Paris. But instead of the millennial excitement that Faith had sensed in 1960s Europe, Phoebe encounters disappointment and ennui. And when Faith's old lover joins Phoebe to retrace those last days in Italy, Phoebe glimpses the human price that her sister paid in following her uncompromising quest for personal liberation. With its coolly graceful prose and mastery of narrative, The Invisible Circus is an unforgettable first novel by a writer of uncommon ability.

About the Author:

Jennifer Egan was born in Chicago and grew up in San Francisco. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harpers, GQ, Ploughshares, and elsewhere, and she writes frequently for the New York Times Magazine. Author of a short story collection entitled Emerald City, she lives in New York City.

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ISBN 10: 0312140908 ISBN 13: 9780312140908
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