This is the story of The Greatest Funambulist Who Ever Lived….
Born into a legendary circus family, our nameless star was unwanted and forgotten, abandoned to grow up in the shadows of the big top. Until a woman with flaming red hair arrives at the circus and teaches her how to perform on the wire. And thus a star is born…
Now an adult and the diamond of the New York cabaret scene, she is haunted by an incident in which a child was lost from the circus. Our narrator weaves together her spellbinding tales of circus legends, earthy magic and folklore, all in the hope of finding the child… But will her story be enough to bring the pair together again?
A Girl Made of Air follows the story of Mouse, ‘The Greatest Funambulist Who Ever Lived’. She recounts her life story through a series of memories, old journal entries and letters. It is well written with some vivid descriptive writing and sprinkled with dark folk law adding an interesting layer to the tale. The story goes back and forth between past and present filling the reader in with lots of historical background. For the most part it’s set against the backdrop of the grim and unforgiving reality of circus life and it is not quite the fairytale adventure I had imagined. Expecting a magical tale set against the hustle and bustle and bright lights of circus life it fell short of my expectations.
The characters are well drawn with some extremely insightful back history giving them depth and feeling. However, this is a weird world full of strange people and there aren’t many likeable characters amongst them. The main focus is on Mouse with the lives of others being drawn in. Mouse has been raised in the circus, she was rejected by her parents and has had a hard life coping on her own often resorting to sleeping with circus animals for company. She’s done some unforgivable things and is now plagued with regret and the author did a brilliant job of portraying her inner turmoil. Some of her actions are quite shocking and also frustrating and you desperately want to re-write some of the pages. It is because of the repercussions of Mouse’s actions I couldn’t empathise with, or even like her character.
Although this is a book which I will no doubt remember and be mulling over for some time to come, it is not one which I particularly enjoyed. There is no doubt it is beautifully written and the author showcases her brilliance at story telling, but because of the bleak storyline and distasteful characters it sadly was not for me and left me feeling a little out of sorts.
Publication Date (UK): 2 September 2021
Page Count: 278
Genre: Historical Fiction
Thank you to the publisher for the gifted eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Please do not hesitate to comment below if you liked my review or have any comments about this book 😊