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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 
24th-Jan-2013 07:00 am
Cover art for The Night Circus. Two silver silhouettes flank a rondel in which there is a black and white circus tent topped with a large clock. The left hand silhouette is a slender man wearing a bowler hat and carrying a closed umbrella. The right hand silhouette is a slender, dancing woman wearing a full-skirted dress on which the silhouette of a lark is visible. The background is black, with silver stars around the two figures.Title: THE NIGHT CIRCUS
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: Anchor Books
Publication Date: September 2011
Pages: 516
Status: keeper

LibraryThing Info

The Night Circus for purchase at The Book Depository

The Night Circus for purchase at Kobo

Review copy received at Book Expo America.

At first, I thought THE NIGHT CIRCUS, Erin Morgenstern’s much-lauded debut, was like a book described within a book.

Do you understand what I mean? I’m sure every bibliophile has encountered a fictional book at some point or another; that is, a book that does not exist in our world, by which has had a large impact on a character who inhabits a book that does. The fictional reader inevitably describes this fictional book, always in brief. They give us the high points; the basic plot, some memorable imagery, and the emotional crux, with few (if any) of the bits that connect the story together.

I always think these books sound fabulous--ethereal, emotionally intense, and utterly unlike most of what I read. They seem like the sort of thing one can truly lose oneself in, like a vivid dream where we needn’t be told the details because we immediately know everything we might require to make sense of the story.

As I pondered this, I realized it wasn’t so much that THE NIGHT CIRCUS was like a book within a book, but that both books within books and THE NIGHT CIRCUS have much in common with dreams.

Reading THE NIGHT CIRCUS is like reading the very best sort of dream. It doesn’t always make real-world sense. Sometimes, the connections one might expect to find are either missing or only present off the page. And yet, the reader (or dreamer) is so completely immersed that everything does make sense; every relevant detail is there for her to grasp at will. It’s beauty made tangible within the confines of someone’s mind, which I think we can all agree is a vast space indeed.

Every book I've read since I finished it has suffered in my estimation simply because it was not THE NIGHT CIRCUS.

The more I think about it, the more I love it.

4.5 stars – loved the hell out of it

Strange Asides:

The comma splices, though. The comma splices. They weren't enjoyment-destroying, but they distracted me to an unfortunate degree.

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Magical Realism
24th-Jan-2013 08:17 pm (UTC)
I'm sooo glad you liked this one!! It was just such a beautiful book. I don't think I read anything for weeks after I finished it - nothing else would have lived up to it!

I didn't notice the comma splices, though. :D
31st-Jan-2013 05:51 pm (UTC)
Comma splices are one of my particular sticking points, so I can't help but see them wherever they occur. Sadness.
24th-Jan-2013 10:33 pm (UTC)
I love this book, as almost everyone does, and it's always fun to see that someone else has discovered it. The comma splices didn't bother me; I think that way too, and a semicolon fixes it.
31st-Jan-2013 05:52 pm (UTC)
I wish I hadn't had to add semicolons and full stops for myself, though. It took me out of the story.
25th-Jan-2013 09:28 pm (UTC)
The Night Circus left me a little cold. The prose is so well-crafted, and stylistically it's brilliant. But none of the characters felt real to me--they were equally ephemeral. I couldn't root for Celia and Marco's love story, and I became annoyed that they never seemed to question how silly the duel was and try and do anything to change their fate really. I found the ending unsatisfying.

But the circus itself was amazing and I loved the descriptions. I can admire the skill with which it was crafted, but I wanted to love it, especially as such a circus fan myself.
31st-Jan-2013 05:54 pm (UTC)
For me, this was one of those rare instances where I didn't forge an emotional connection to the characters, but I didn't mind. The atmosphere engaged me to such a degree that it made up for any other faults.

(Except the comma splices.)
(Deleted comment)
31st-Jan-2013 05:54 pm (UTC)
You totally should!
27th-Jan-2013 01:43 am (UTC)
"Every book I've read since I finished it has suffered in my estimation simply because it was not THE NIGHT CIRCUS."

Ugh, this. I told a friend of mine to read it, though she has somewhat less adventurous taste than I do when it comes to books, and she didn't love it. I kept telling her to lose herself in it, to stop trying to apply our logic to it, and just let the book take her. She didn't take my advice! Or the book just didn't get her to that place like it did for me. It's the kind of book that I want everyone to love, but I totally understand how you might not. But love I did. I want to read it again! I meant to in October but never got around to it.
31st-Jan-2013 05:55 pm (UTC)
I remember your reread plans! I think this would be a wonderful book to revisit in October or November, just as the seasons begin to change.
27th-Jan-2013 11:33 pm (UTC)
So this one has been hovering around the edge of my awareness for ages. And I was finally sold on it with the book-within-a-book thing (The Seller of Dreams in Emily's Quest by L. M. Montgomery, that's my magical book within a book). But the comma splices. Oh dear. I had a professor who abhorred comma splices and now they make me wince.

But no...still putting it on the To Be Read list.
31st-Jan-2013 05:57 pm (UTC)
The comma splices are a distraction, to be sure, but the book's other charms are numerous. It definitely belongs on your TBR. :)
28th-Jan-2013 01:29 am (UTC)
Hahahaha, I didn't have quite this same violent love reaction to The Night Circus, but I did love the world Erin Morgenstern created. I hope it gets made into a movie just because I think it would be the most gorgeous movie ever. She describes everything so beautifully!
31st-Jan-2013 05:57 pm (UTC)
It's so cinematic! I'd love to see it on screen, too.
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