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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus (edition 2012)

by Erin Morgenstern

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9,541919304 (4.08)1 / 918
Title:The Night Circus
Authors:Erin Morgenstern
Info:Anchor (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Recommended by Kirsten

Work details

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Circus (9)

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English (916)  Dutch (4)  German (4)  Swedish (1)  Chinese (1)  Finnish (1)  Turkish (1)  Greek (1)  Danish (1)  All (930)
Showing 1-5 of 916 (next | show all)
"The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not."

I loved this book, I really did but I couldn't bring myself to give it five stars. There were some issues with the pacing and the the chronology that kind of took away from the quality of it. It was very confusing at times for me as I was reading because I would have to go back and check the dates of other chapters to see how they fit into the story's timeline. Moreover, I found that in the first part of the book, nothing really happened save for a couple of key scenes. Then, the second part of the book wasn't jam-packed with events as much as it was complicated. It had too many complex revelations for me to fully absorb what was being said.

Issues aside though, this book was fantastic. The writing style was incredibly immersive and vivid; there was no way I was gonna carelessly flip through this book without intently reading and visualizing every sentence. The vision of Le Cirque des Rêves was beautifully executed; those mini second-person excerpts sprinkled throughout the book were perfect for its vibe. I could go on and on about it, but believe me when I say everything about the circus was ethereal, right down to the scents.

When it comes to characters, three particular characters stood out the most for me: Poppet, Widget and Bailey -- Also Herr Frederick! While the other characters (sorry Celia and Marco) often got washed amidst all the chaos of the 'challenge', these characters managed to stay interesting and refreshing. Not to say that I hated the rest of the characters, they were all lovely, but Poppet, Widget and Bailey were the ones I felt I had more of a connection to.

Also, Midnight Dinners . YES.
( )
  fatmashahin | Sep 23, 2017 |
The night circus was created to be a superlative entertainment and is hijacked by two rival magicians who use it as a venue for a magical challenge fought by their proxies – Celia who is the daughter of one, and Marco who is the student of the other. Celia and Marco are bound irrevocably to the challenge: They cannot simply walk away. And no one has told them that it must be a duel to the death – so of course they fall in love. The writing is like crystal. The plot is intricately constructed like a piece of clockwork, and you watch as the gears turn, and mesh, carrying everything inexorably closer to disaster.

I enjoyed this book because I cared about the characters, and the ending manages to be satisfying without having to throw them under the bus. The circus itself, the “Circus of Dreams” is an impressive creation. It’s marvelously imaginative, but it somehow put me off, perhaps because it was just too magical – a bit over the top. Or maybe it was because it wasn’t real. The circus acquired a group of dedicated fans, some of whom actually followed it from place to place. To me they felt a little like addicts. How could their everyday lives, which should have been important and necessary, possibly compete with this entrancing fantasy? Not everyone will be disturbed by this, of course, and the book is very well written and well worth reading even with this caveat. ( )
  Carol_W | Sep 14, 2017 |
It was a bit ironic that I started listening to this book right around the 20th Anniversary of the first book of Harry Potter because Jim Dale narrates both books. He really brought this novel alive for me, so much so I'm actually going to read the book as well. I only listened to it because it allows me to get more books in while I'm at work in the lab. This book is fantastic. I was swept into the world of the circus where magic truly exists that binds each member together in a way that was never intended. This book brings you a beautiful romance, adventure, magic, and a touch of the dark side of life. The only regret I have is not picking this book up years ago when I first came across it and waiting so long to finally get to it. I missed out on such a beautifully written novel and such in depth characters back then. I was truly sad when I had to leave these characters after turning the final page. It makes me so happy to know that unlike real life events, I can always open the pages of this book and revisit the story and her characters whenever I want. Great job Erin Morgenstern! I can't wait to read more! ( )
  Jacquiec2687 | Sep 12, 2017 |
Two of the things I love in my life are books and old movies. I happen to be watching An American in Paris the other evening and was reintroduced to the party/carnival scene. All festival attendees were decked out in costumes of black and white...with splashes of red, here and there. I immediately made the connection to Le Cirque des Reves and the wonderful scenes that awaited attendees.

I bring up the imagery because in a Goodreads group to which I belong, a poster informed members that Morgenstern had gorgeous descriptions for a spectacular circus forming characters and plot around her fantastical creations. The emphasis on place is strong in the book, so I happen to believe the poster's commentary. It is the place that is center stage, the characters are secondary.

This is not a criticism. It is difficult to explain in a very short review for a potential reader how time, place, magic, and character fold in on themselves to form different angles to the tale. The circus is the grounding mechanism by which the characters and the challenge develop. The story, for example, is written in non-linear fashion - jumping around from past/present/future simultaneously so that all converge at the decision point of the challenge. Characters converge in the same way. It is the incredible circus that remains in perpetuity (ever creatively and fantastically growing). The book is part mystery, part love story, part fairy tale and part fantasy. Readers who wish to lose themselves in place rather than character are sure to fall in love with the book. ( )
  Christina_E_Mitchell | Sep 9, 2017 |
The Night Circus is not just any circus, and it is also not just any book. It is a phantasmagorical story of delight, told as if you are listening to the story of the Night Circus and its collaborators.

Phantasmagorical: (adj)
1.Having a fantastic or deceptive appearance, as something in a dream or created by the imagination.
2.Having the appearance of an optical illusion, especially one produced by a magic lantern.
3.Changing or shifting, as a scene made up of many elements.

Prospero the Enchanter and A.H. are the masters of a game, and of children whom they choose as the players, pitted against one another; they groom them and they teach them.

Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair are the chosen pawns in this game that matches their abilities against one another. They both know they are participants, but they do not know against whom they are participating or any other terms of the game. Their lives are poured into this endeavor.

Bailey Clarke is a child when “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.”

Bailey’s life is not on a trajectory for amazement or wonder, before the arrival of The Night Circus; the trajectory of his life, however, changes.

I am not a lover of traditional circuses; oh no. I was immediately drawn in by the cover of this book, and then by the blurb.

The Night Circus, for me, is the preeminent of stories told, and of books written. Erin Morgenstern is a masterful story teller, weaving a story unparalleled; drawing the reader into her world of wonder. She is a wordsmith, creating imagery that seems, at once, unbelievable and desirable. I would gladly attend her circus.

I am also not a frequent rereader of books, but it was time to revel in this one again. This book was published in September of 2011. I first read it in June of 2014. This time I chose to listen to it on Audible, as read by Jim Dale. I am only familiar with him in the context of the Disney films he starred in in the 70s. I knew his voice, though, the instant I began listening to his rendition of The Night Circus.

The Night Circus began with characters Erin Morgenstern created for a novel she began writing for National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo.
The book has been optioned for a film, and I am so eager for it to be made.

The scope of this novel includes fantasy, romance, adventure... you name it. I highly recommend it for almost anyone who simply loves a good story. There is no objectionable content.

I enjoy creating my dream cast for my favorite books. For The Night Circus, I would cast:

Rachel McAdams as Celia Bowen

Orlando Bloom as Marco Alisdair

Geoffrey Rush as Alexander (A. H.) (Vincent Price would have been great in this role.)

Benedict Cumberbatch as Prospero the Enchanter (Hector Bowen)

Israel Broussard as Bailey Clarke

Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Winston
Aidan Murray (Widget)

Francesca Capaldi as Penelope Aislin Murray (Poppet)

Maggie Smith as Tante Padva

Martin Freeman as Ethan Barris

Emma Watson as Isobel Martin

Rachel Griffiths as Tara and Lainie Burgess

Lucy Liu as Tsukiko

Thomas Kretschmann as Herr Friedrick Thiessen

I haven’t figured out who should play Chandresh Christoph Lefevre. ( )
  BoundTogetherForGood | Aug 31, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 916 (next | show all)
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 editionscalculated
Dale, JimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fontana, JohnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jakobeit, BrigitteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koay, Pei LoiDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Musselwhite, HelenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.
--Oscar Wilde, 1888
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 (2)

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:51 -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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

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