I recently finished reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (who certainly has a great last name for an author, as every time I see it I hear Peter Falk’s voice beginning The Princess Bride). The Night Circus just came out this year and I heard about it before its release date from a review posted on the library comic Unshelved (amazing by the way, and frighteningly true to life). As soon as I saw it was about a circus, it went on my request list at the library.
I was not disappointed. The book is about two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who are locked into a competition by their respective teachers. The venue for their competition is Le Cirque des Reves, where Celia is the illusionist and Marco is assistant to the proprietor/creator. The novel follows their challenges and their relationship to each other, as well as other characters within and without the circus. Celia and Marco’s love story is definitely the main plot, but the main character here is the circus itself.
Morgenstern’s writing is extremely visual. But that is necessary considering the story. It’s a shame that there were not more illustrations included in the book, although what artwork there was, was lovely. I have always been in love with circuses and carnivals and Morgenstern captures the mystery and beauty of this one. Imagine the circus from Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked this Way Comes without the fear and danger, yet with its other-ness and seductive qualities in tact. It is definitely a novel screaming to be made into a movie. And I mean that in a good way, not in a crass commercial way.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, despite how very romantic it was (not entirely my cup of tea). The magic in the story is realistic, similar to what was seen in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. And the circus. The circus is why I would read this book again. And again. And dream that some morning I will wake to find a field of black and white striped tents with the faintest hint of caramel in the air.