In Brief — A review of “The Night Circus” that reflects the author’s tastes. Will it reflect yours? [Written in May 2017.]
Dreams of a Circus of Fantasy —
“The Night Circus.” My story about a story that stumbled out of the starting gate but crossed the finish line in first place.
It is said that a reader lives a thousand lives but a non-reader lives only one. If true, then I have lived a thousand lives. It seems I’ve been reading all my life. I was an asthmatic kid in his bedroom who read dictionaries while the neighbor kids played outdoors. The asthma disappeared in the high, dry climate of Santa Fe. In my early teens I was lucky in having a friend who introduced me to science fiction and fantasy. Since then, my reading has grown to include philosophy, history, theology, law, politics and other genres including fiction and, of course, fantasy.
“The Night Circus” was a gift from a former teacher friend who has generously fed my addiction with books she found particularly appealing. Unfortunately, unlike previous gifts from my special friend, this gift failed to materialize. I hovered over my Kindle expecting it to appear as others have done. It didn’t. Three days later after repeated complaints to Amazon, “The Night Circus” appeared as mysteriously as the circus does in this book.
As I said at the outset, this is the best fantasy I’ve ever read. I couldn’t put it down and could hardly wait to see where the author, Erin Morgenstern, would take me next. Not all readers will be as entranced as I, but this is my story.
Set in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this tale includes wizards, magic, fated lovers and just plain people who are aficionados drawn into the spell of an unusual circus, a circus we all wish existed in our lives.
The fated Marco and Celia are surrounded by Widget, Poppet, Bailey and a host of fascinating characters who populate “The Night Circus.” They are drawn into the orbit of the circus that appears and disappears unpredictably and is open only during the night hours. As a reader, I was drawn in along with them.
What you might expect in any circus can be found here, but it’s all better. The popcorn is popped to perfection, the cider or hot drinks are delicious, the chocolate and caramel taste wonderful. The performances are awe-inspiring. Is it real magic or just beautifully done? Each tent is unique…and there are many tents.
With the circus as a backdrop, Marco and Celia are bound to a competition that will determine who is best. The winner lives; the loser must die. It’s always been like this.
Whether you read it as a paper book or on an e-reader makes little difference other than esthetic. If you are not a reader or not interested in fantasy, I will only say that you are missing something in life. And life is to be lived with all its flavors. “The Night Circus” added flavor to my life. Maybe it can add flavor to yours.
The Weekly Sampler—
As a reminder, go to the Archives on the right side of the page and click on the month and year of that week’s featured Sampler. If you wish, go to the January 15, 2017, blog (“A Simple Reading Assignment”) for more thorough instructions.
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