default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Rejoice! February’s over

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, March 2, 2012 3:19 pm | Updated: 10:13 am, Mon Jul 23, 2012.

"Life takes us to unexpected places sometimes"

—Erin Morgenstern

February's over and we can all rejoice! Birthdays of a few well-loved people in my life occur in this month, but other than that ... February can't be over soon enough. And in celebration of the early spring, I finally put down the Vampire books and picked up a delightful book about magic, illusion and fantasy.

"The finest pleasures are always the unexpected ones," to quote the author.

This particular unexpected pleasure is "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern. It should be required reading for anyone who has lost the sense of magic and enchantment in their lives. I haven't read a more richly woven and delightful piece of literature in a long, long time. Many fairy tales of our childhood conjured up the imagery and mystery of magic, but this is a book for grown-ups and it doesn't disappoint.

The story revolves around two young illusionists who were chosen by their mentors who involve them in a lifelong contest that has vague guidelines and nonexistent rules. About illusion, we learn “People see what they wish to see. And in most cases, what they are told that they see,” And much more.

Though our young players are aware of the game, they are not aware of how the game will be won until it has gone on for years. By the time they learn of the endgame strategy, they realize that it is not an option and they must alter the outcome — something they have been doing all their lives.

That is the basic plot. But the main character, in my opinion, is the circus itself — Le Cirque des Reves (The Circus of Dreams). We're involved in its creation by an eccentric magician; the gathering of the performers; and the ever-changing result which becomes a moving, breathing organism that changes with the whim of the players. “The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

The performers are all richly carved characters with their own back stories and complexities. Morgenstern lets us in on some of their histories, but does not overshadow the story with too much information. I was impressed by the fact that though she uses beautiful and descriptive language, she also has a creative economy with words. She doesn't overemphasize any one subject for too long ... but just long enough. 'Circus' is also a quiet and gentle love story ... because it simply had to be. You can't have that much magic without conjuring up some love.

Some people will not be drawn to a book about fantasy and illusion. It took me some weeks to commit to reading this book. But the free-flowing prose and magical descriptions included in the narrative pulled me in and kept me turning pages until the last drop. It was a lovely escape from reality and one that I would take again if Ms. Morgenstern keeps the fantasies coming.

Sidebar: Some people may have been introduced to Morgenstern in the arena of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short). This is a yearly challenge to write 50 thousand words in 30 days. Many people (including my brother, one of the well-loved February people) take part in this event and may eventually become successful authors. Morgenstern began 'Night Circus' while involved with the challenge and it grew from there. Something a budding novelist may want to investigate.

I'm not a writer of novels. But in this short review, I've used the word 'magic' many times. Sometimes that's the only word that works. And in this case, the book is truly magic.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • Brandi Poole posted at 5:18 pm on Fri, Mar 2, 2012.

    Brandi Poole Posts: 79

    You are so right! One of my favorite things in this world is to love a book so much that I read it every spare minute that I have. When I am nearing the end, I am truly torn between knowing the ending and wanting it to last. Such was the case with this book.

    i believe that we can always use a reminder to look for the magic that is all around us. It's important and wonderful. So is this book.

    I consider it a little bit of magic that I found it!


Popular Stories



Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists