Monday, April 6, 2015

The Night Circus

Today's Book Recommendation is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

The circus arrives without warning. There is no preamble. No announcement. Within its black and white tents guests find breathtaking amazements that defy the expected. It is called Le Cirque de Reves and it is only open at night.

As guests wander from tent to tent they have no idea that within the circus a fierce battle rages. Two young magicians, Celia and Marco, trained in the magic arts since their childhood compete against one another. They each have a tutor and benefactor who has taught them all that they know. But, what their tutors have failed to tell them is that this is a competition where only one magician can be left standing and the circus is the battlefield on which one of them will fall.

Despite their best intentions Celia and Marco begin to fall in love with one another. Dazzled by each others prowess, imagination, and will they tumble headfirst into it. They have no idea that their fate, the fate of the performers, and even the loyalist of guests rests precariously on their shoulders. As precarious as the acrobats who fly from trapeze to trapeze in the black and white tents.

This was a novel that it took me a while to jump on board with. What is interesting is that the synopsis that I gave you is very similar to the one found on the back of the book or on websites such as Goodreads (which all bookworms should join by the way). But, what the synopsis does not tell you in that there are several other stories within the battle of the magicians that also play a part in the narrative of the circus.

At first this tendency to jump from one character to another both in time and location is a bit disorienting. Especially since you can't always tell where in time you are. Make sure to pay close attention to chapter headings as they often tell you where you are and when. Eventually all these different story lines begin to weave together like pieces of an elaborate puzzle. And while the love story is a major part of the narrative it does not dominate it in a way that it feels like a romance novel.

My favorite part of the novel was ultimately the various descriptions of the circus, the tents, and an elaborate clock that serves as the focal point for the circus performances itself. A clock that I actually wish existed in real life. When the story lines begin to knit themselves together you will develop an appreciation for Morgensterns writing style and over all narrative. It does become a page turner. And I have several well read friends who loved this novel from the very start.

Despite my lukewarm statements I actually really liked this book in the end. It sold me on the imagery and the fantasy. I think this would make a lovely film too. Although because of the complexities I would think that it would be better served as a mini series or television series. A feature length film just wouldn't give it the time that it deserves.

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