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The Circus Train

The Circus Train

By: Amita Parikh

SKU:9781443464994

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Product Specifications

ISBN: 9781443464994

Genre: Fiction

Format: Paperback

Pages: 408

Publisher: Harper Collins

Published Date:

Language: English

Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year

Toronto Star Best Historical Fiction of 2022

About the Book

A NATIONAL BESTSELLER

At the World of Wonders, Europe’s most magnificent travelling circus, every moment is full of magic, and nothing is as it seems—especially for the people who put on the show

Lena Papadopoulos has never quite found her place within the circus, even as the daughter of the extraordinary headlining illusionist, Theo. Brilliant and curious, Lena yearns for the real-world magic of science and medicine, despite her father’s overprotectiveness and the limitations of her wheelchair.

Lena’s unconventional life takes an exciting turn when she rescues Alexandre, an orphan with his own secrets and a mysterious past. Over several years, as their friendship flourishes and Alexandre trains as the illusionist’s apprentice, World War II escalates around them. When Theo and Alexandre are contracted to work and perform in a model town for Jews set up by the Nazis, Lena becomes separated from everything she knows. Forced to make her own way, she must confront her doubts and dare to believe in the impossible—herself.

A must-read for fans of The Night Circus and Water for Elephants, The Circus Train will take readers on a heart-rending and spectacular two-decade journey across Europe. When all is lost, how do you find the courage to keep moving forward?

 

Critical Praise

 

"Sit back and enjoy as this magical story transports you through war-torn Europe, demonstrating how family can be found in the most unconventional ways." — Shilpi Somaya Gowda, author of The Shape of Family

"The Circus Train is a dazzling and delightful debut. Amita Parikh plunges us into a mesmerizing tale of colourful acts and characters, who must elicit truth from illusion as they face dark forces and seek out their places in a changing world. I thoroughly enjoyed this read." — Ellen Keith, bestselling author of The Dutch Wife

"Many secrets drive the narrative to its pitch-perfect redemptive ending." — Toronto Star

“A spellbinding tale of illusions, family secrets, courage, and devotion, as a circus train tours European cities under threat of war and persecution. Amita Parikh’s skills as a storyteller will enthrall the reader. In Lena Papadopoulos she has created an irresistible and memorable young heroine.” — Carol Windley, Midnight Train to Prague 

The Circus Train is a lush, luminous story of outsiders, those disadvantaged by accidents of birth or menacing political regimes. Amita Parikh’s prose shimmers; get ready to be immersed in its rich textures and breathtaking illusions – fire jugglers, mermaid-acrobats, and more. But the real magic is human connection, a sense of belonging, self-fulfillment. I cheered until the final page for Parikh’s characters who strive to beat the odds in a world of turmoil, characters drawn with great love by their creator, in this novel so generous in scope and heart." — Jeanette Lynes, The Small Things That End the World

“Set against the vivid and original backdrop of a traveling circus in World War II Europe, The Circus Train is the moving story of Lena, a young woman struggling to overcome her physical limitations and find her place in the world. Her life is irreversibly changed by the arrival of Alexandre, the illusionist’s apprentice with secrets of his own. Amita Parikh has written a passionate and gripping tale of unlikely alliances and hidden strengths, and a powerful reminder that to live is not just to survive, but to be seen and known for ourselves.” — Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Woman With the Blue Star

“This is a poignant story of a young woman's strive for independence, the atrocities of WWII, and betrayal. Heartbreak, romance and love filter throughout and I thoroughly enjoyed the ending offering hope.” — Glynis Peters, author of The Secret Orphan

"I fell head and heart into the pages of The Circus Train. The triumphant spirit of the characters shines brightly as they navigate the extravagance of the World of Wonders circus and a challenging historical landscape. This is a book readers will carry with them, in the best of ways, for a long time to come." — Lorelei Savaryn, author of The Circus of Stolen Dreams and The Edge of In Between

“Magic, love, destiny, and illusion combine with the glitter of 20th century circus life and the heartbreak of war in The Circus Train, Amita Parikh’s masterful first novel. . . . A powerful tale of hope in the face of tragedy and great love in the face of staggering loss, The Circus Train is an extraordinary debut.” — Kristin Harmel, author of The Book of Lost Names and The Forest of Vanishing Stars

“Fascinating. . . Parikh’s extensive historical research adds authenticity to the lives of the circus performers as well as Lena’s disability, and the characters’ arcs highlight the ever-present dangers in WWII Europe and make palpable the strength of friendship. Fans of historical fiction will be drawn to this page-turner.” — Publishers Weekly

“Immersive and intricately plotted, this novel brings to life the precarious, colorful world of circus performance in prewar Europe, where nothing is as it seems, danger lurks around every corner, and success is a matter of confidence, luck, and risk. Lena, Alexandre, and Theo are lovable characters, each backed by three-dimensional backstories that expand and intersect satisfyingly as the novel progresses. . . Parikh has created a carefully researched historical debut whose bighearted, sensitive protagonist makes the reader’s emotional journey well worth it. Lively and richly detailed.” — Kirkus Reviews

“[A] multilevel story of friendship, love, and survival spanning the World War II era. . . [Parikh’s] research into circuses, concentration camps, and disability all provide a keen historical realism to her characters and events. Indeed, it is Parikh’s sensitive eye toward the reality of living with polio in the 1930s to 1950s that is the real heart of this romantic tale. For readers who love a good circus, this debut keeps a long story on track, with a few hairpin turns to make it interesting.” — Library Journal

“Lena is an intelligent, feisty heroine and her rite of passage is compelling. . . . This is an uplifting, often page-turning read and a welcome escape from our turbulent times.” — The Guardian

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