In The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern spins a tale that is magical in its prose and practical in its illusions. To me, it is as fine a debut novel as can be found.
Morgenstern’s prose is poetry mostly and not without wit. Her novel’s structure is a marvel, perhaps a study in magic itself for Le Cirque des Reves—the Circus of Dreams—arrives and departs without notice, opening only at midnight and closing at dawn.
The dream circus is a world of black and white with wafts of caramel weaving in and out of striped tents that offer moments of awe and acts unknown, swirling round an extraordinary love story, truly a circus for any rêveur.
There is the Wishing Tree where every wish is a light always lit; there is the illusionist who appears and disappears as if she were born to it; there is the Labyrinth that will take you up and down, sideways, or to the top of your world.
If you are fortunate, perhaps chosen is a better word, you may receive a silver pass to the Circus of Dreams for the rest of your life. It is a tempting way to live for every tent tells a story within a story as “there are many kinds of magic,” seemingly unending.
The Night Circus opens in 1885, near the midnight of the 19th century and closes in 1903, just after the dawn of the 20th century. Anything and everything seems possible, as the planet is still more dream than reality so there are stories yet to tell, and what is more magical than a story in which so much seems to happen all on its own.
If you read The Night Circus, do pay attention to time and its relationship to permanence or endurance but if you lose track of time— and you probably will but you won’t mind—remember this:
“The whole of Le Cirque des Reves is formed by series of circles. Perhaps it is a tribute to the origin of the word “circus,” deriving from the Greek kirkos meaning circle, or ring. There are many such nods to the phenomenon of the circus in a historical sense, though it is hardly a traditional circus. Rather than a single tent with rings enclosed within, this circus contains clusters of tents like pyramids, some large and others quite small. They are set within circular paths, contained within a circular fence. Looping and continuous.”
As I have mentioned previously, Stephanie Carmichael, a fine writer, wrote a review of The Night Circus that captures its essence completely, and I hope you take a moment to read Stephanie’s review found here.
(All excerpts are from Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Thorndike ME: Center Point Large Print edition by arrangement with Doubleday, 2011.)
ROW80 Wednesday Words
This ROW80 round is one of continuous goal revision for me yet challenge is growth, even if my vision is a bit cloudy at the moment. However, I am considering not writing fiction for I suspect I am a better reader and editor than a storyteller when it comes to fiction.
As for nonfiction, I do have a lifelong love affair with the essay and seem to pursue that form more than storytelling. It is not the first time I have met this issue but I do believe it is the first time I may have to choose. Yet, I write, which is what is important to me. My revised goals are:
Write 500 words per day, write a regular blog at least once a week, and complete the ROW80 check-ins on Sunday and Wednesday.
So far, the revision feels comfortable.