The Night Circus

Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus Cover

The Night Circus


Open the pages of the Night Circus and you are immediately absorbed into a mesmerizing world that leaves you hoping La Cirque des Rêves will visit soon so that you may experience its wonders for yourself. The simplest explanation of this circus is to have you imagine your favourite incarnation of Cirque de Soleil, only, on a more subtle scale, its grandeur hidden within the elegance of its black and white world under the stars. Like other circuses and fairs, you will still find acrobats and contortionists and fortune tellers... And you will find illusionists.

Within the setting of the circus, a competition plays out that is reminiscent of books like The Prestige, where two skilled magicians constantly try to one up each other. The difference here is that the magic is real, and that the "illusionists" in question do not directly compete against each other. Instead, they find and raise gifted children. The children are raised knowing their purpose, but not the venue or even their competitor. In this case, Celia Bowen and Marco Alexander end up intricately entwined within La Cirque des Rêves and they fall in love – something their callous fathers cannot fathom.

The lovers' story is beautiful and tragic, but while they are at the heart of The Night Circus, theirs is not the only story being told. Everyone – from the clockmaker who's love for the circus inadvertently forms the circus' elite fan club, to the young boy wishing for a fairytale ending, to the red-haired twins born auspiciously on opening night, to the circus' founders, to the fortune teller and the contortionist – is so intricately bound together within the circus. It was fascinating to see the characters and events slip in and out of the chapters in such a graceful and sensual dance. Somewhere along the way, I realized that even Time and the circus itself were like living, breathing characters.

The true magic of The Night Circus is that, like the circus itself, it cannot be pinned down. It cannot be easily lumped into any particular genre. It is all and it is none and its wonders and mysteries must simply be experienced...