Book Review: The Circus by Jonas Karlsson

January 29, 2020

The Circus by Jonas Karlsson (translated by Neil Smith) tells of two friends who went to the circus, one of them volunteered to be in a magic act, and disappeared. Mr. Karlsson is an award winning author and actor from Sweden, I have enjoyed several of his books.

  • 192 pages
  • Publisher: Hogarth
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1101905174

Book Review: The Circus by Jonas Karlsson
My rating for The Circus4
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More books by Jonas Jonasson*

The Circus by Jonas Karlsson (translated by Neil Smith) a short but surreal story which blurs the lines of realism to the narrator. The story takes place in modern day Sweden, from the viewpoint of the narrator, a lonesome man, probably middle aged.

The man lives a peaceful, enjoyable life. He organizes his record collection meticulously, has a small group of friends he sees (not too often), and makes a living working in a bakery – hoping customers would rather deal with the cute girl than with him.

One day, his day falls apart when his friend Magnus disappears in the circus. Trying to discover what happened to his childhood friend, the man’s existence starts to blur along the edges. The only thing that keeps making sense is recorded music, the protagonist’s way of relating to the world and how to think about it.

Mr. Karlsson’s surreal and sardonic story examines what happens when you start realizing that maybe not everything is as it seems. Through the narrative, the author describes how difficult it is for lonely people to deal with isolation (he doesn’t have a cell phone), and maintain any sort of significant personal connections.

The ending was predictable and at some point became obvious, especially since it’s been done before. That, however, was not the point of the story and I didn’t feel it lessened my enjoyment of it.

The unnamed narrator and his friend, Magnus, go to the circus together. They don’t see each other often, but share the bond of outcasts and love of music. During the show, a magician asks for volunteers for his disappearing act. Magnus volunteers and never comes back.

In his search for his friend, the narrator comes to term with his own life, present and past.

Buy The Circus from*
More books by Jonas Jonasson*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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