Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Erin Morgenstern makes magic cool again!

   Celia and Marco are complete strangers to one another, yet they are forever bound by a commitment that was made when they were children.  Both Celia and Marco were raised and trained by powerful magicians, and each were promised to compete in a competition that they know very little about.  Each opponent must display their magical strengths and abilities within the realm of a circus.  But Celia and Marco do not know that the circus is much more than a game, and the stakes are much higher than they ever could have imagined.

   Celia and Marco's inevitable love story can be a bit distracting sometimes, but everything pales in comparison to Morgenstern's impeccable imagery of the circus.  The fact the Le Cirque de Reves appears suddenly and is only open at night already gives the book an air of excitement and mystery.  But the performers we encounter within the circus are even more magical than their venue.  Perhaps this is because a few of them contain powers similar to those of Marco and Celia.

   In the circus, there is a whirlwind of wonderment that can only be explained by the public as curious talents.  It's almost like walking into Willy Wonka's chocolate factory - a new, mysterious adventure around every corner.  Visitors to the night circus can enjoy performances by the illusionist (Celia), a contortionist, acrobats, and wild animal trainers.  They can enter the cloud maze, where participants float, surrounded by dreamlike clouds in a maze that has no directional limitations.  They can explore the ice garden, where a lush, fragrant garden blooms completely from ice.  Or, they can light a candle and make a wish on the wishing tree, which is a large tree set ablaze with candles representing wishes that are rumored to come true.

   The circus never stops evolving.  People who have been following it for years notice that there always seem to be a few unexplored corners.  It is in this imagery of such an enchanting, dreamlike world where Erin Morgenstern really shines as a writer.  Sometimes the romantic aspects of the novel seemed bulky and unpolished, but this book is absolutely worth reading, if only for the sensory experience of Le Cirque de Reves.  This novel encompasses so many genres of literature, and most of them fit beautifully within the narration.  While the circus as we know it may not exist as it does in this books, The Night Circus asks us to reconsider entertainment, to forget our own human limitations, and to simply be observers of a fantasy.