The Night Circus
By Erin Morgenstern
Doubleday, 2011. 387 pgs. Fiction
“When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There’s magic in that. It’s in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict.”
Erin Morgenstern has created “magic” in her own novel. Full of wonderfully fantastic descriptions, Le Cirque des Reves, the Circus of Dreams, arrives without warning, its black and white stripped tents simply appearing when yesterday they were not there. Unbeknownst to the people who visit the circus and all but a few of the circus performers, the Night Circus is actually an arena for a competition between two young magicians, Celia and Marco. A rivalry imposed upon them by their masters and one they do not fully understand. After a while, Celia and Marco fall in love and begin collaborating on the wonderful shows they create for the circus, but the game cannot end until a victor is chosen.
Morgenstern’s debut novel is set in the early 19th century which is the perfect time period for this marvelously crafted circus (more cirque du soleil that Barnum and Bailey). The circus is so stunningly imagined by Morgenstern, it is almost a character itself. I look forward to the author’s next creation and highly recommend you take your own trip to the Night Circus.