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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5,998645690 (4.08)1 / 717
19th century (41) 2011 (80) 2012 (112) 2013 (49) adult (32) ARC (32) audio (28) audiobook (44) book club (41) circus (380) competition (62) ebook (63) fantasy (676) fiction (660) historical (36) historical fiction (98) illusion (40) Kindle (61) love (73) magic (411) magical realism (145) magicians (124) novel (46) read (83) read in 2011 (47) read in 2012 (81) read in 2013 (33) romance (218) signed (41) to-read (240)
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English (634)  Dutch (4)  German (3)  Chinese (1)  Swedish (1)  Turkish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (645)
Showing 1-5 of 634 (next | show all)
An exhilarating ride that will keep you glued to the book, page after page, completely unable to tear yourself away until you reach the stunning conclusion.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

This surprising tale contains stories within stories, each as fascinating as the next. Hector Bowen's six year old daughter is sent to him at the theatre he was currently performing in, a note attached to her jacket. That one action sparks to life a self contained world that interacts regularly with the world at large, yet remains separate at the same time.

Upon seeing what his daughter is capable of after only eight months of his tutelage, Hector seeks out a man only known as Alexander H. The two make a wager, something they've done several times before. However the actual terms are not clarified, neither for those involved or those of us looking on. The result is the birth of Le Cirque des Rêves, or The Circus of Dreams.

The Circus was deliberately designed using the true meaning of the word, so everything is circular, from the external wall, to the paths winding throughout, to the individual tents. The whole story is told much like the arrangement of the Circus, is a circular manner, never straightforward or direct. Although that could easily be very frustrating, particularly for those of us accustomed to linear storytelling, in this case it works marvelously.

Consisting of a variety of diverse characters, each with their own story, it is almost impossible not to be pulled into this beautifully crafted tale. Cecilia and Marco are the heart of the story, but the supporting cast of characters is so rich it is often difficult to say who are truly lead characters next to Cecilia and Marco. Each of the characters is so vivid you expect them to step off the page and into the room with you at any moment, or you would if Ms. Morgenstern didn't keep you so wrapped up in the stories she so deftly wove.

The pacing and arc of this story were excellent, with the ending just bordering on feeling rushed, but never quite over-balancing. Instead it worked seamlessly with the rest of the story and how the story was all a set up for those final scenes. And what scenes they are, at once enthralling, horrifying, heartbreaking, satisfying, and above all consistent with the story that came before. This is one book that can easily be read multiple times, the reader finding something new with each reading. I can safely say I now understand why everyone was raving about this when it first came out. ( )
  Isisunit | Apr 21, 2014 |
A warning to audio listeners. Do not listen to this book. It’s impossible to follow with so many characters and the lack of a chronological sequence. I really wanted to like this book but I just could not follow some of the stories within the book as I could not page back. ( )
1 vote bergs47 | Apr 11, 2014 |
Oh my! What a great book. This is hands down my favorite read this year. The story is simply magical and the plot had me captivated from the first chapter. This book is amazing, especially if you love circus's and magic. Highly recommend! ( )
1 vote JessicaofAbbey | Apr 9, 2014 |
Expertly-crafted, luxuriant prose. Great if you like the fairy-tale genre, but the downfall for me was, as the character Tsukiko said: "I am not terribly invested in the outcome". ( )
1 vote AmourFou | Apr 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 634 (next | show all)
Magic without passion is pretty much a trip to Pier One: lots of shrink-wrapped candles. One wishes Morgenstern had spent less time on the special effects and more on the hauntingly unanswerable question that runs, more or less ignored, through these pages: Can children love who were never loved, only used as intellectual machines? What kind of magic reverses that spell? It’s not as pretty a spectacle, but that’s a story that grips the heart.
I am a reader who should have hated this novel; yet I found it enchanting, and affecting, too, in spite of its sentimental ending. Morgenstern's patient, lucid construction of her circus – of its creators and performers and followers – makes for a world of illusion more real than that of many a realist fiction. There is a matter-of-factness about the magicians' magic, a consistency about the parameters of the circus world, that succeeds both in itself and as a comment upon the need for and nature of illusion in general. While the novel's occasional philosophical gestures seem glib ("You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream"), the book enacts its worldview more satisfyingly than could any summary or statement. Rather than forcing its readers to be prisoners in someone else's imagination, Morgenstern's imaginary circus invites readers to join in an exploration of the possible.
Underneath the icy polish of her prose, Morgenstern well understands what makes The Night Circus tick: that Marco and Celia, whether in competition or in love, are part of a wider world they must engage with but also transcend. It’s a world whose mystique and enigma is hard to shake off, and that invites multiple visits.
The Night Circus is one of those books. One of those rare, wonderful, transcendent books that, upon finishing, you want to immediately start again.
The book itself looks beautiful but creaky plotting and lifeless characters leave The Night Circus less than enchanting
added by ncgraham | editThe Observer, Olivia Laing (Sep 11, 2011)

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erin Morgensternprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dale, JimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fontana, JohnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koay, Pei LoiDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Musselwhite, HelenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
The circus arrives without warning.
Follow your dreams, Bailey, she says. Be they Harvard or something else entirely. No matter what that father of yours says, or how loudly he might say it. He forgets that he was someone's dream once himself.
Children are dragged away with promises that they may return the next evening, though the circus will not be there the next evening and later those children will feel slighted and betrayed.
You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.
I do not like being left in the dark. I am not particularly fond of believing in impossible things.
You're not destined or chosen, I wish I could tell you that you were if that would make it easier, but it's not true. You're in the right place at the right time, and you care enough to do what needs to be done. Sometimes that's enough.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
A circus known as Le Cirque des Reves features two illusionists, Celia and Marco, who are unknowingly competing in a game to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters, and as the two fall deeply and passionately in love with each other, their masters intervene with dangerous consequences.
Haiku summary
Magicians in love
Forced to duel at the circus
Put on a great show.
Where a boy bears lovers' dreams
with a seer of stars
and night goes on forever.
A light and airy
Feast for the senses. But wait,
Darkness lurks beneath.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307744434, Paperback)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, September 2011: Erin Morgenstern’s dark, enchanting debut takes us to the black and white tents of Le Cirque des Reves, a circus that arrives without warning, simply appearing when yesterday it was not there. Young Celia and Marco have been cast into a rivalry at The Night Circus, one arranged long ago by powers they do not fully understand. Over time, their lives become more intricately enmeshed in a dance of love, joy, deceit, heartbreak, and magic. Author Morgenstern knows her world inside and out, and she guides the reader with a confident hand. The setting and tone are never less than mesmerizing. The characters are well-realized and memorable. But it is the Night Circus itself that might be the most memorable of all. --Chris Schluep

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:46 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Waging a fierce competition for which they have trained since childhood, circus magicians Celia and Marco unexpectedly fall in love with each other and share a fantastical romance that manifests in fateful ways.

» see all 10 descriptions

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