The Night Circus

With my brand new e-book reader and time on my hands due to some vacation, I decided to reach out into the world of literature and read something completely different for me.  My book of choice was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and I chose it for two reasons.  Early reviews had caught my fancy including our own coverage by Misha.  The second reasons was that it was available free from my library’s e-book selections when I needed to download something to my new device.

Serendipity rules. 

What a delightful surprise this book turned out to be.  It is a fantasy, a romance, a Gothic, a work of magical realism.  It is one of those works that is hard to describe especially when trying to append appeal factors to it.  But I am certain of one thing:  no one will lack for questions when putting together a book discussion about this title.

The basic plot of The Night Circus is that two master wizard manipulators are setting up a contest between two budding magicians (for lack of a better word) who are going to be set against each other while not being told what the game is, what the rules are, where it is being played and who their opponent is.  Ultimately, we learn that the battle ground is Le Cirque des Reves, a magical traveling carnival that evolves with the story and includes secondary characters of equal power to the two main combatants.  The parallels between the fates of secondary characters and our two main protagonists enriches the tale.

Morgenstern chose to write this tale across time by bouncing around in a thirty year period and using multiple points of view.  While the plot is not hard to follow there is a challenger in her style.  She is beautiful writer who can be both graceful in execution while being meaningful in her message.  It is both a very dark, sad book while having an uplifting message that self-worth can be a powerful cure for even the most overwhelming challenges.

If I had to use one word to describe this book, it would be:  different.  I felt so refreshed reading this book because it was unlike any other I had read.  That made me want to discuss it with someone and hopefully that is how your book group participants will feel as well.



About the Author:

Gary Niebuhr is the author of Make Mine a Mystery (2003), Caught up in Crime (2009), and other readers' guides to mystery and detective fiction. He was a Booklist contributor from 2008-2014.

1 Comment on "The Night Circus"

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  1.' Lillian says:

    Morgenstern’s debut is stunning. Her character development is flawless, the writing quite eloquent and the story engaging. It is a true love story that is so rare these days. The Night Circus is one of my favorites.

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