The Night Circus is one of those books that got so much hype before it was released that I wasn't sure I should read it right away. All that hype makes me reluctant (cf. Freedom). But then it was released on my birthday, and I thought why not add it to my birthday wishlist of books. The premise sounded oh-so unique; "The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts or billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not... Within hours everyone in town has heard about it... It's impressive and unusual news, the sudden appearance of a mystery circus."
I've heard people say that if you chose to read one book this year, you should read The Night Circus. Well, I wouldn't go that far, but I will say this is a highly entertaining literary work of magical realism. (I'll also say you should read more than one book this year, loser.) I don't want to give too much away because part of the fun of this novel is not knowing exactly where it will take you. It's meandering and enchanting, suspenseful and dark. The non-linear structure and precise language work to build anticipation toward a complex and wonderfully imaginative ending. Not only is this a fun and unique read, but it also speaks to something greater about mankind; the circus "rêveurs" represent our proclivity to dream as a way to escape the monotony of daily life in exchange for adventure and enchantment. It also examines our fears and hesitations with the unfamiliar, our tendencies to take for granted the magic that exists in the world around us and dismiss the things we don't understand.
This is not magic. This is the way the world is, only very few people take the time to stop and note it. Look around you, he says, waving a hand at the surrounding tables. Not a one of them even has an inkling of the things that are possible in this world, and what's worse is that none of them would listen if you attempted to enlighten them. They want to believe that magic is nothing but clever deception, because to think it real would keep them up at night, afraid of their own existence.Morgenstern's descriptions of the night circus go beyond imaginative; they are beautiful portrayals of a mesmerizing world. From the ice garden to the wishing tree, the cloud maze and the pool of tears, Morgenstren truly paints a memorable picture with her prose. If you are looking for something unique that offers a balance of enchantment, romance and mystery, you've got to read The Night Circus.
Publisher: Doubleday, 2011