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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus (edition 2012)

by Erin Morgenstern

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,285745486 (4.09)1 / 833
Title:The Night Circus
Authors:Erin Morgenstern
Info:Anchor (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned

Work details

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

  1. 629
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English (734)  Dutch (4)  German (3)  Chinese (1)  Swedish (1)  Turkish (1)  Greek (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (746)
Showing 1-5 of 734 (next | show all)
This was probably not the wisest reaching choice after finishing The Ocean at the End of the Lane because I had just gotten my head straight again when I dove headfirst into this one.

The entire time I was reading this book, I viscerally wanted to see the circus in real life, and was actually sad when I remembered this was fiction and the Night Circus does not exist. The imagery in this book was some of the most amazing I can remember reading. Baz Luhrmann was directing the scenes in my brain.

I had competing wants while reading this - I wanted to speed through it and take gigantic bites, while at the same slowing down so I can savor it. I will definitely be re-reading this one.

I nearly did not finish this book because the foreshadowing of a Terrible End was so strong and I wanted to trap all the characters in time before it happened. But I'm glad I continued on because the ending was perfect. The Circus persevered, and Marco and Celia were able to be together while still a part of the circus, without the game coming to a decisive and tragic end, and Bailey found what he wanted more than anything.

This was a book of dreams, and my brain was so invested in the dreams that I didn't know what to do with myself when the book and the dream ended. It's been a long while since I've fallen into a book coma as hard as I did after The Night Circus.

I loved this.

ETA: I realize now that Morgenstern wrote this book like a magician. All the elements were there to figure out how the plot was going to end (I figured out some of the bits and in hindsight realized the other giant hints she dropped), but like a magician, she used distraction and misdirection to keep the audience from looking behind the curtain. Her gorgeous depictions of the Circus were the flashes and sparkles that I was paying attention to, instead of trying to solve the puzzle. Brilliant! ( )
  wisemetis | Aug 28, 2015 |
The final chapters were about a two-star rating, but the first half was so beautiful that I had to give the book four stars. I sometimes felt that I was looking at a painting rather than reading a book. I am not sure that I could explain the plot to anyone, but it was so magical that I was truly impressed - very different from anything I have read recently. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
I was completely enchanted by the first three quarters of this novel. The vivid descriptions made me feel as though I could see, hear, and taste everything in the book. I loved the world the author created. However, when it came time to focus on the story, things just fell apart. I realized I wasn't that invested in the characters and the magic of the setting unraveled. Still worth a read. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Okay. Wow.

This was...so unlike anything I've ever read. I'm completely enthralled by this book. Let me tell you why.

At first, seemingly, there is no plot.... Our story jumps back and forth in time and to different characters. To where the circus is up and running and back before it existed. And even after that. Once the book is finished you may not realize it, but you just read through years of the circus's history. It's kind of hard to keep up with, but I'm telling you it's worth it. (Just a tip: Take note of the date when each chapter takes place).

With several characters and times to work with, Morgenstern expertly weaves together a complex, magical story with an entirely unique concept. And yes, there is a plot. (And it doesn't largely have to do with romance, even though the description makes it seem that way. :P Though the romance is still important.)

I know it took many people awhile to get into, but I was captured from the start. Curiosity spurred me on, even if the plot was slow-moving. And the writing.

The Night Circus was so cleverly written, even lyrical at times. It's written in Third Person Present Tense with small snippets of Second Person narrative at the beginning of each part, and I was blown away by the author's ability to write so expertly in both tenses. It's true. Erin Morgenstern is a master wordsmith.

Don't care if it sounds corny. This book is magic. A Top Favorite of 2015.

Content: I don't remember exactly, but there might have been some mild language; one kind of intimate scene, can easily be skipped over; Recommended for everyone 15 .

Originally posted at The Scribbling Sprite. ( )
  ScribblingSprite | Aug 10, 2015 |
This book is imaginative and beautifully written. It is not a mushy kind of love story, more like a story of magic and competition with a dash of love spinkled on top. It is nice to read a story where the characters are not shallow and vague, but develop and grow. Over all, I thought it was an amazing read, and I would recommend it to others. ( )
  Ravenlight | Aug 6, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 734 (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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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 (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 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 11 descriptions

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