Friday, February 22, 2013
The Night Circus
I recently finished reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It was one of those books I had put off time and time again, having been disappointed in the last book taking place in a circus that I read. But I read an excerpt and finally picked it up. I am so glad that I did. This book appealed to a part of me I hadn’t seen in a while—an aesthetically driven, unapologetic romantic.
If I were to use my English-major powers and pick apart this book, I’m sure I would find a lot of flaws. If you are looking for something deeply serious and literary, this may not be the book for you. Some complaints I’ve heard: The characters, while interesting and (in my opinion) by no means one-dimensional, are not the deepest you’ll meet and the plot moves so slowly you can barely tell it’s alive. The love story could be seen as typical Bella-and-Edward, love-at-first-sight, I-don’t-even-care-what-your-personality-is-like-because-I’ve-seen-you-and-I-love-you fare (I personally think it’s more complicated than that, but that’s up to the reader). But none of that really bothered me— like so many characters, I was lost in the magic of the circus.
Morgenstern’s strength lies in her ability to weave this fantasy world of the night circus together, and that’s just what I was looking for. The book is gorgeously atmospheric and practically begs to be filmed (Tim Burton, I am looking at you). The time period is one of my personal favorites, the turn of the 20th century, and is the perfect setting for a story rife with mysticism and other-worldliness. Morgenstern breaks up the book with small chapters written in 2nd person perspective, literally putting you, the reader, right in the story. It’s an unusual device, but it works beautifully. This is a book to be read when all is quiet and you can absorb the flavor that Morgenstern has so carefully brewed for you.
Incidentally, we will be holding a discussion on this book on the first Thursday night in October—the perfect time of year for such a dark and mysterious, magical book. So join us then and let us know what you thought of it! It is also available as an ebook, Kindle format included.