BOOK DISCUSSION: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
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Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! Come closer to learn more about a true visual spectacle - a mind twister of a book - The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. No bearded ladies or five-legged goats - just a book that bends your imagination and senses.
Yes, it's a circus book, and certainly we've had our share of circus stories lately. While most books focus on the oddities, The Night Circus offers up something more. It's a veritable feast for your senses. Your mind's eye will almost tire from the stimulation. Your nose will go into overtime imagining the aromas. And your skin will tingle from conjuring the sensations of the circus. (Has anyone bought the movie rights yet? Tim Burton, this has your name written all over it!)
It's what The Night Circus does to the corners of your imagination, though, that makes this book a pleasure to read. Erin Morgenstern's debut is not without flaws. Overall, though, she accomplishes a tremendous feat: to drop the reader into the story, fully immersed like a live witness to the story's events.
I was less impressed with the love story angle of The Night Circus - it almost felt contrived, not as natural as the rest of the moving parts of the story. I was never convinced that the main characters, Marco and Celia, had a relationship that could sustain beyond the competition. Star-crossed beautiful lovers from competing sides is the oldest trick in the book - and overplayed. Many will disagree with me, and that's okay. Perhaps I've become old and unromantic.
Circus fiction can read like a three-ring circus, but that's not the case with this book. Just like the circus, The Night Circus is full of magic and would make for a great book club discussion - and an even better movie. I recommend it to any reader who likes to journey to the unbelievable - even just once in a while.
Here's what I did say on my 50 book challenge feed:
I love all things fantastical and this book was no exception! I found it to be a gorgeously written novel that combined my love of the strange and paranormal with the beauty of well crafted literary fiction in a historical setting. A HOME RUN of a combination in my book!!! Please give this new writer a read!
By the way, thanks for your great review which made me buy this one sooner rather than later!
This was a pure pleasure read. Part fairy-tale, part fin-de-siecle nostalgia, with a dollop of reflection on the nature and ramifications of illusion. The magic of circuses -- the skill of the performers, the closed society, the allure of thrilling danger -- has its own element of courtliness and Romance that Morgenstern exploits extremely well. And her language can be mesmerizing. The Night Circus is not the best novel about circuses I have read -- Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus carries more complexity -- but it's a dazzling debut. I look forward to her next book.
Secrets have power.... And that power diminishes when they are shared, so they are best kept and kept well. Sharing secrets, real secrets, important ones, with even one other person, will change them. Writing them down is worse, because who can tell how many eyes might see them inscribed on paper, no matter how careful you might be with it. So it's really best to keep your secrets when you have them, for their own good, as well yours.