Phoebe O’Connor has never gotten over the sudden death of her older sister, Faith. Faith was a wild, free-spirited young woman who got swept up into the counterculture of the 1960s. Faith was adored by her family and by just about everyone else who laid eyes on her. When she leaves Phoebe and the rest of her family to “really make a difference” abroad, it’s under the assumption that she’ll back soon. But life is complicated and making a difference sometimes means sacrificing your morals and even yourself. Phoebe, now eight years older and depressed, decides to follow in Faith’s footsteps to discover exactly what happened to her sister. On her journey across Europe she meets Faith’s old boyfriend, Wolf, who vows to help Phoebe discover the truth. Wolf is prepared to put his entire life and his fiancee on hold to help this young girl who looks so much like Faith. Can he bring himself to tell her what he really knows about her sister?
The Invisible Circus was Jennifer Egan’s first novel, but it does not show. It’s just as masterfully crafted as A Visit from the Goon Squad but with a little less cynicism. Egan creates characters that are completely human, flaws and all, and totally relatable despite the generational gap in the story line. Also, if you like it, check out the movie which stars Cameron Diaz and my favorite Doctor, Christopher Eccleston.