When I started reading The Troupe I thought it was going to be another The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern as it involved a performance group and what sounded like a rather twisted love story. I loved The Night Circus, so I was not averse to reading something similar, although I was not convinced how anything was going to be as good. I was wrong, completely wrong.
The Troupe is a love story, but not in the traditional sense. Yes, boy meets girl and falls in love, but this story is eclipsed by a deep, dark foreboding force and a sense that nothing will ever be the same again. The lead character is seventeen year old George. George is a talented pianist who joins a vaudeville troupe in search of the father that abandoned him and his mother before he was born. His father, Heironomo Silenus, runs a vaudevillian troupe and young George joins the troupe in the hope of a loving reunion with his father. All is not as it appears and George soon discovers they are all on the run for their lives.
Bennett achieves something that not many authors do. He makes beauty out of a bleak landscape, he creates characters that are almost so loathsome that you can’t help but read on and eloquently describes love born out of grief. Through the young and spiteful George we go on a journey across the country and through time looking for pieces of the Creator’s song.
The song is sung at the end of the troupe’s performance to keep the darkness at bay. It has been Silenus’s mission for not just decades but at least a century to find all the pieces of the song, protecting humanity in the process from the darkness. The troupe is a dysfunctional family of strange but alluring characters, and as the typical arrogant and selfish teenager, George doesn’t realise the end game until it is too late.
It is almost impossible to adequately describe The Troupe without giving too much away. This is a novel that is bleak yet heartwarming, gruesome yet loving, full of hope yet burdened with despair. In the final chapters there is a myriad of emotions that grow through the pages that it takes at least a second read through to thoroughly appreciate Bennett’s message.
This novel was a surprise as I wasn’t expecting it to be as harrowing as it was. The final chapters were so gruesome they were borderline horror and as the reader you weren’t really sure what was happening or how the story was going to play out. I was certain there wasn’t going to be a truly happy ending and had this happened I would have felt cheated. The Troupe is a love story but not like any other love story I have ever read as the love is steeped in grief and betrayal. The Troupe isn’t for the feint hearted, but for those who want a truly spectacular and mind blowing read I highly recommend it.
BUY YOUR COPY