Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Monday, 22 September 2008

"The Ringmaster's Daughter" by Josten Gaarder (Phoenix, 2002)

I like his storytelling gifts. I feel claustrophic about his characters though - description fills in rather than extends, accumulates rather than deepens. The detail about a father on p.114 was sufficiently odd to make me think it would recur in the plot later. And why 339 survivors? He has that many clients?

Losing the little man would normalise the main character without breaking much else.

The final scene where he's looking at tiles tidily draws together many motifs - the chess story, plane/theatre ticket numbers, and the dramatic irony of him realising (far later than readers do) Beate's identity, that all the time he's been the Ringmaster. I don't think I get the last paragraph though.

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