Recently Read: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I think I’m recovered enough and emotionally separated enough to actually write out some coherent thoughts on this novel.
First of all, let me say that I absolutely loved this book. I loved it. I ate it up. I actually stopped reading it for 2 days when I had about 50 pages or so left because I wasn’t ready to give it up. It was enchanting, magical, enthralling, seductive, etc. etc., circus adjectives, on and on. Everything you can read on the back cover. What it wasn’t, though, was an extremely complicated novel with intense characters, intricate plot, and a love story to end all love stories.
One of my favorite quotes in this world, and one that I think about literally every time I’m picking out a new book or starting one that I’m not totally into, is by Doris Lessing: “There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag-and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty-and vise versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you. ”
There are amazing books out in this world. I have read amazing books. I read them all the time. Before I read this book, I read ‘Of Mice and Men’ and ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ both for the first time, both of which I cried like a child at the end of (the first sobfest was on an airplane… oops), but they didn’t claim me the way this book did, and I truly and firmly and will forever believe that I NEEDED ‘The Night Circus.’ I needed it in a way that I haven’t needed other books in a while. Look, I’m getting teary-eyed again, because this is IMPORTANT, this is the point of literature. This is the point of anything that you love in a way you can’t explain. It comes into your life and it takes you away, and it saves you when you’re lonely, or “unhappy or sick or can’t sleep.” (There’s some Sylvia Plath for you.)
I have a broken heart right now, and I didn’t know it, but I was looking for a world that was so beautifully above the one that I am currently living, and ‘The Night Circus’ was just that. I would argue that this book does not deliver what it promises on the back cover- if there was “a fierce competition,” I must have missed it, and it operates in third person narrative, making almost all of the characters two-dimensional, at best. Morgenstern employs the use of an extreme amount of imagery almost as a placeholder for a riveting plot. The book does not proceed in a linear fashion, which will drive some readers insane. It is about 75% flowery and descriptive prose, and 25% plot development.
What this book does deliver though, is “Le Cirque des Rêves,” The Circus of Dreams. A Victorian arena where lovely fantasies come true, and dreams are opened, started, and released into the world for you to do with what you will. They’re not explained. Doors are opened and are never shut. Characters are introduced and never heard from again. This book has a magic to it that had nothing to do with this supposed “fierce competition” between Celia and Marco. That’s almost a side note. I want to go to this circus, I want to live in this world. This book gathered me up in the 75% of it that was dedicated to describing this world in amazing detail, and I didn’t need more than that. It’s romantic in a way that has nothing to do with the “love” story, and romantic in a way I needed to remember exists in this life.
At least that’s how it went for me. But hey, I read this book at exactly the right time in my life. I hope you do too.
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- akasassafras said: Rachelle, the box office supervisor, recommended this book to me. After reading your review, I daresay I will be reading it soon.
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- meraki--mindset said: lady girl, thank you. this has been on my to read list for far too long, i think i’ll be picking it up quite soon now. also, hugs from afar..hope each day is a bit brighter than the last.
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