Monday, 19 March 2012

The Night Circus

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Night Circus is a fully imagined, fantastic tale. Erin Morgenstern has invented a brand new world involving a circus driven by a magic competition. Celia and Marco are bound by their masters to outdo one another through magical feats in a contest where the rules are kept hidden from the contestants. Their venue is a circus, in which the performers never get sick, never get old. The circus is only open from dusk till dawn. It appears and disappears suddenly and it travels by mysterious means all over the globe.

The circus is carefully planned by engineers and designers, but what mere mortals are unable to achieve are augmented by the talents of Celia and Marco. Eventually, the circus develops a cult following of people who call themselves rêveurs. Each tent of the circus plays on the dreams, memories and hopes of its audience. The world of The Night Circus is wholly believable.

For me, I was completely won over by Celia’s audition scene especially when her raven crashes into her and is transformed into a black jacket over her equally altered black and white gown. It left me breathless.

However, Morgenstern pays more attention to the creation of this world and its characters, than to the development of the action and the love story. If you like things to move along in a novel, the detail in The Night Circus might frustrate you. Morgenstern takes a lot of time and energy to construct the world of the circus: All that work deserves a little more action. Perhaps the author is like Celia: Celia is soon burdened by the task of keeping the circus running.

I liked how the story of previous rivals shows that in each contest the competitors find their identities in each other and fall in love. As well, I believed Marco’s feelings of love at first sight for Celia, but needed more to understand Celia’s attraction to Marco and her subsequent wavering.

Nevertheless, I was enchanted by The Night Circus. I wish such a place really existed. Perhaps it does: imagination. Like the rêveurs we each “add our own stories, each visitor, each visit, each night spent at the circus. I suppose there will never be a lack of things to say, of stories to be told and shared”. The writings of the rêveurs allows their readers to be “[transported] will. When put that way, it sounds rather like magic, doesn’t it?”

The Night Circus has made a rêveur out of me.

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