Phoebe O'Connor, eighteen in the summer of 1978, is too young to have partaken of the riotous carnival of the sixties, but old enough to feel the anxiety of its influence. Living in San Francisco with her widowed mother, Phoebe drifts along the edges of her life, obsessed by the memory of her charismatic older sister, Faith, a true flower child who died mysteriously in Italy eight years before. Believing that her sister's fatal journey holds the key to her own transformation, Phoebe bolts to Europe. Phoebe follows the itinerary Faith had spelled out in postcards home - London, Amsterdam, Paris - but the millennial excitement of Faith's Europe has vanished, and Phoebe finds herself vulnerable and isolated. Finally she reaches Italy and traces her sister's last steps. But the truth Phoebe discovers is darker and more complicated than anything she has imagined, and finally she must face the human price her sister paid for taking her quest for personal liberation to the very edge. Only by dispelling the ghosts of a romanticized past does Phoebe come into full possession of her world. Jennifer Egan portrays this fundamental passage with a mastery of riveting narrative extraordinary in a first novel. As it confronts the ambiguous legacy of the sixties, The Invisible Circus also beautifully and powerfully describes a journey essential to all of us.