2016 Classics Challenge: January | ‘Nights at the Circus’ by Angela Carter

2016 Classics Challenge

My choice of Classic for January was Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus

nights at the circus.jpg

WHEN I Discovered This Classic

I first came across Nights at the Circus in Aberystwyth’s branch of Waterstones while browsing, and heard about it several times more during my time at university. I purchased my copy this January specifically for the Classics Challenge!

WHY I Chose to Read It

I wanted to pick a less ‘classic-y’ classic, and the themes of magical realism really interested me.

WHAT Makes It A Classic

Standing in its genre, and the influence it’s had on writing since its publication are compelling arguments. I decided I could call it a classic because the edition I purchased is a Vintage Classics Red Spine copy!

WHAT I Thought of This Classic

I didn’t finish this until a week and a bit into February. I think my main trouble was not sitting down and reading at least the first half in one go – I lost momentum and found myself having to really concentrate to keep on reading. I enjoyed it, but I think because I was putting myself under a bit of pressure, I didn’t necessarily get the most out of this first reading experience.

What I did love was the characters, the character development and the immersion built throughout the book. Again, this might be some of why I had trouble – I kept having to break my immersion and read in small sips rather than great big gulps – rather than sitting down and downing the whole book in one. I loved the magical realism, the ambiguities and the questions that were thrown out for the reader to catch.

WILL It Stay A Classic

I think that to be and remain a classic a piece of work must have something which was not done before, and is not likely to be repeated or improved on – which is certainly something I’d say is true of this. 

WHO I’d Recommend It To

Lovers of magical realism and stories about circuses with fairytale influence!


My Classic for February will be Silas Marner by George Eliot .

See Pretty Books’ blog for more info about the 2016 Classics Challenge


2 thoughts on “2016 Classics Challenge: January | ‘Nights at the Circus’ by Angela Carter

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