Monday, March 17, 2014

Entertaining But Shallow

Source: Goodreads
Lives of the Circus Animals by Christopher Bram (Harper Perennial, 2004, 352pp.)

This post-9/11 novel chronicles the madcap struggles of a small group of New Yorkers trying to “make it” in the Big Apple. Here’s a few of the “animals” that will be found in this particular circus: Caleb, a gay playwright who’s nursing a major writer’s block; Henry, a British actor who’s so talented, he can’t take care of himself; Jessie, his long-suffering personal assistant; Frank, a former actor who spends his life on the outside looking in; and Kenneth, a theater critic from the mighty New York Times who just really wants to be liked.

Lives of the Circus Animals is an entertaining, occasionally chuckle-worthy rom-com that’s as shallow as its main characters’ personalities. Over the course of the novel, the characters fight, make love, act out, and obsess over each other, while the outside world around them passes them by. If you’re looking for a light read that teaches you about the world of theater in New York, then this is an excellent book to read. If you’re looking for something deep and ponderous that examines the soul of humanity, you probably won’t find it here.

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