This book was provided to me by Hachette Aus in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own.
A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington is the story of the Greatest Funambulist Who Ever Lived. Mouse was born into a circus life where neither her mother nor father desired to look after her. Serendipity Wilson, another circus member, becomes Mouse’s carer and guardian as she teaches her how to become a funambulist. This story explores the desperate need to right wrongs of the past, in particular in trying to find Serendipity’s lost child Bunny.
This book opens with a dream giving us insight into Mouse’s trauma and state of mind. It felt like a piece of a fairytale story being intertwined with the rest of the novel. The real entry point of the novel is when Mouse is sitting down, being interviewed by a New York Times reporter about her ‘retirement’ from being a funambulist. After the interview, Mouse takes it upon herself to write up her life story to give to this journalist. Using a series of old journals, letters, and perfect recollection, Mouse recalls her life and who she was before she earned the title of ‘The Greatest Funambulist Who Ever Lived.’
A Girl Made of Air gives off the vibe of being a fantasy novel set in our own world, much like another famous circus story ‘Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern. Unlike Night Circus which has real magic blooming in the universe, A Girl Made of Air is actually a historical fiction infused with magical realism that allows it to feel like a world where fairies and magic truly strive in.
The beauty of this book comes from the fact that it reads like an autobiography with fairytale life lessons inserted between significant plot points. These fairytale-like stories actually stories handed down to Mouse from Serendipity Wilson’s childhood fables. This fragmentation of diary and legends gave the tale its magical elemental.
This story is dazzling, but it also had tragedy and grief spilling from the seams. Each twist and turn is unexpected, and there are moments that you may lose yourself in the mystical world, forgetting that there is no real magic but just tales we say to see the world a bit more enchanting than it actually is.
“To dream is to live with your face brightened by moonlight “
Publication Date: 8 September 2020
RRP: $32.99 AUD
Personal Rating: 5/5