Carnivalesque (2017): Neil Jordan

★★★

Everyone knows that circuses are magical places, but they can be dangerous too, subversive, circumventing the rules of society, propriety and even reality. One day, young Andy loses himself in the hall of mirrors in a carnival sideshow. When he emerges some hours later, he both is and is not himself: that is to say, his body is unchanged, but the thing inside him is no longer Andy; or, at least, not the boy he was before. That old Andy, or his essence, is trapped within the speckled glass of the mirror-maze, snatched or changed, call it what you will, and ready to be drawn out into the inner life of this fantastical place. Part fable, part fantasy, part horror-story, this novel is rooted in a strong concept but preserves its enigma too fiercely, to the point that the reader never quite comes to engage emotionally with its character or narrative.

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