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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
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The Night Circus (edition 2012)

by Erin Morgenstern

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,906811417 (4.09)1 / 858
Member:kookiekat
Title:The Night Circus
Authors:Erin Morgenstern
Info:Anchor (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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English (799)  Dutch (4)  German (3)  Swedish (1)  Chinese (1)  Finnish (1)  Turkish (1)  Danish (1)  Greek (1)  All languages (812)
Showing 1-5 of 799 (next | show all)
An overly long story in which nothing much happens. Confusing as an audiobook, as the story goes back and forth in time. Well-known narrator just about put me to sleep on the highway. His voicing of female characters was not pleasant. ( )
  fromthecomfychair | Feb 11, 2016 |
This book has lots of style and no substance. I lost interest early on, but a friend convinced me that the "story" (there was no story that I could detect) would get better, so I slogged onward, and gave up about halfway through. I think this is the sort of book that will appeal to fans of Lev Grossman's "The Magicians," and possibly to fans of authors such as Bacigalupi and Mieville. But if you like a book to have likable main characters and a coherent plot, this one is not for you. ( )
  Abby_Goldsmith | Feb 10, 2016 |
The Night Circus is a book I really, really wanted to like. It was so pretty, but it was almost like they made this book so beautiful to cover up how empty the book really is, the story I mean. Not the entire book was bad; there were lovely parts, marvelous characters. But the main characters Celia and Marco, their “romance” ruined the books, mostly because I didn’t care about them, they weren’t the books most interesting characters (one big problem!) all the other characters in the books was so much more interesting. For instance, I wanted to know more about Hector Bowen and Alexander, their past history, all the challengers. I wanted to know more about Tsukiko. Instead, I get a romance that lacks passion. I mean, suddenly in the book they are passionately in love and I felt that they author just rushed into it, as if she suddenly realized the books is soon over, I must make my character fall in love, pronto. Gah!

I’m glad I just borrowed the book from the library. It was great to look at, it was not all bad to read, but untimely, not as great as I had hoped it would be!
( )
  MaraBlaise | Feb 9, 2016 |
The Night Circus is a book I really, really wanted to like. It was so pretty, but it was almost like they made this book so beautiful to cover up how empty the book really is, the story I mean. Not the entire book was bad; there were lovely parts, marvelous characters. But the main characters Celia and Marco, their “romance” ruined the books, mostly because I didn’t care about them, they weren’t the books most interesting characters (one big problem!) all the other characters in the books was so much more interesting. For instance, I wanted to know more about Hector Bowen and Alexander, their past history, all the challengers. I wanted to know more about Tsukiko. Instead, I get a romance that lacks passion. I mean, suddenly in the book they are passionately in love and I felt that they author just rushed into it, as if she suddenly realized the books is soon over, I must make my character fall in love, pronto. Gah!

I’m glad I just borrowed the book from the library. It was great to look at, it was not all bad to read, but untimely, not as great as I had hoped it would be!
( )
1 vote DariaZav | Feb 9, 2016 |
I wasn't really ever one of those children who wanted to run away with the circus... but this book made me want to run away with the circus.

I didn't actually think I'd like this book; it was a book club selection. I'm not sure why I was predisposed against it... but it doesn't matter, because Morgenstern made quick work of those doubts!
I read this book till I fell asleep, then woke up at some absurdly early hour of the morning (after some lovely, inspired dreams), and finished it before going back to sleep.

Two children are trained by master magicians to participate in a vaguely defined contest of magic. What are the goals? How long will it last? On what criteria will it be judged? All they both know is the venue of the contest: a traveling circus. As boy and girl grow to man and woman, and grow in their powers, they create experiential, immersive, truly magical art in this circus that changes the lives of both the performers and the audience members of the Cirque du Reves.

The writing is gorgeously evocative.
While the format of the story is reminiscent of a fable, the people in it are real and believable (especially the clockmaker). While it is strongly romantic, it's not simple or black-and-white. (Well, the circus tents may be black-and-white, but the ethical issues brought up are not.) Morgenstern perfectly creates otherworldly beauty that might - just might - be underlaid with horror.

In a completely random, and surely unintentional occurrence, reading this book brought me back to the art installations by lalalandia, where they would take over a house and create a different art environment in each room... water, smoke, sand, music... http://www.djolive.com/lalalandia.html

But mostly, I wanted to just wrap a scarlet scarf over my black overcoat, and go to find the circus... ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 799 (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
Jakobeit, BrigitteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koay, Pei LoiDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Musselwhite, HelenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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
Dedication
First words
The circus arrives without warning.
Quotations
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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References to this work on external resources.

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.
(yoyogod)
Where a boy bears lovers' dreams
with a seer of stars
and night goes on forever.
(blueviolent)
A light and airy
Feast for the senses. But wait,
Darkness lurks beneath.
(passion4reading)

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)

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