The Night Circus

One of the reasons why I did not post anything last week was that I was using my free time to read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  I was able to check this book out from the library, even though I had been on the waiting list for it for two months.  I went to the library planning on randomly hunting down something that looked interesting, when that book was there staring me down in the entrance.  It was available through their “Express” service which came with a few rules.

1. You can only have the book for 7 Days

2. You can not renew it

3. You must return it to that particular branch

No problem, I said to myself.  It was just under 400 pages, but the type looked big so I figured I would have it done in three days.  I was somewhere around page 135 in the book when I got a 6 am email message from the library.

This is just a reminder (aka threat) that the book you recently checked out is due in three days.

I have checked out many library books throughout the last year and never once have I gotten an email about it, they didn’t even tell me I had a fine from last October.  They meant business with this express service so I started picking up the pace on my reading,  so it (and other things) encroached on my bogging time.

I finished it a day early and overall really enjoyed it, some people on the other hand have not,  I can guess some of the reasons why.  The description on the book jacket is a bit misleading, it talks about a fierce duel between two magicians and a deep love, but that is not really what the story is about it.  I guess that whoever wrote that teaser was trying to lure the Harry Potter crowd and perhaps the Twilight crowd, because it is more bedtime story than a action packed thriller.   In my opinion, as the title states the story is about The Night Circus; it’s about what it is to people who see it, perform in it, and run it.  It is a circus that only runs from dusk until dawn, it never announces where it will be and when it will leave, but somehow people always come to it and over time gets quite a following.  It takes place in the Victorian Era and the chapters jump back and forwards in time and with different characters featured.  I was not particularly moved by the prominent love story in the book, but I liked  the secondary love story between two teenagers- a boy who loved the circus since he was a kid and a girl who born minutes after the circus first opened.

The description of the circus is detailed beautifully, it inspired me to attempt a black and white dinner party.  In fact as she described the sights and costumes of the circus, it was one of the few times I wanted there to be a movie just so those costumes would be made and in solid form.   There is not a lot of “action” in it but the story kept my attention.  It really does take you to empty grass fields at night under black and white striped tents, at least it did for me.  It is a fantasy novel, but set in a way that you know the real world is out there and that it is only a short visit.  Parts of it also reminded me of the wonder and the “stranger in a strange land” feeling that I had when I first started going to Clubs.  At least with most of the people that I was around there was a ritual to it, an artistry, a dip into a darker side that has now become (sadly) the dominant fashion.  I was never as dedicated, but I was able to watch and visit, as it were.

This was the authors first book, I thought that you could really feel her voice forming as she wrote it.  I also guess that quite a bit of the story lines were cut for publication.  I think the emotions of the lovers and friends were not preserved in the final copy, but overall a novel I really liked and would recommend to those who need a trip to the Le Cirque des Rêves.

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3 thoughts on “The Night Circus

  1. Your library doesn’t mess around. Mine sends me emails as well, which is convenient since I sometimes “forgot” when they are due. I’m glad you liked this one. I’ve heard so many good and bad things about it, but I would like to read it and find out for myself.

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