Hey Read This… A Circus? At Night?

Posted on October 17, 2011

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Le Circe du Reve is quite an event. It has a seemingly endless supply of tents, each which seems to defy physics and never ceases to entertain and amuse. In fact, there is a loyal group of followers (reveurs) who literally travel the world, from Concord, Mass. to Beijing. ‘Night Circus’, by Erin Morgenstern, is the tale of two unlikely participants in a grand experiment taking place within its black and white tent walls.

Celia and Marco were chosen, at childhood, for a grand competition where their magical abilities are put to the test. The each have their own caretakers, one who may even be a ghost.

But things become unstable when the two finally meet and fall in love. How will the competition play out? Can they just give up? Can they give up if one of them must die?

I won’t lie, this book gets off to a slow start. There isn’t even any magic for the first 100 pages or so. But man oh man does it get exciting. This novel has excellent pacing. It isn’t until the last 50 pages or so that you even get a basic idea of the whole point of the competition.

On top of that, I have never read a book with such unbridled imagination. Yes, I have read all of the Harry Potter books. This is a different kind of universe. It takes place in Victorian times, so it has a very interesting aesthetic to it. You never know what kind of tent the main character is going to wander into next. It’s like Burning Man with far fewer hippies.

And here’s the thing, the craziest thing of all. Sometimes you, yes you, are the main character. Introductions to each of the parts (there are 4) are in 2nd person. It works! I’ve never read anything like it.

There are times when the narrative won’t make sense. That’s often the case when a writer comes up with his or her own universe. But in this book something won’t make sense at first but will be perfectly clear later on.

This is one of those books that reminds you that reading can and should be fun. Morgenstern’s debut novel is pretty extraordinary. It’s a joy for kids, grownups and those who can’t decide on either one of those labels. You’d better work out your forearms because you won’t be able to put ‘Night Circus’ down.

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Comments

5 Responses to “Hey Read This… A Circus? At Night?”

  1. shannon gordon on October 17th, 2011 12:23 pm

    OK,my next book. Fun!

  2. Ruben on October 17th, 2011 1:25 pm

    Kind of sounds along the lines of “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell”.

  3. Heath on October 17th, 2011 5:02 pm

    Never read it. I was listening to an interview with the author and every other person who called in was like ‘oh here’s a book that’s about a circus have you read it?’ and Erin was like ‘actually no’.

  4. Gaby on October 17th, 2011 10:30 pm

    This was actually free as an ebook on iTunes! I got one of the free things from Starbucks. Maybe I’ll download it, since you gave it a good review!

  5. Heath on October 18th, 2011 6:44 am

    Go for it Gaby! I think you’ll like it!

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