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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
6,420682600 (4.09)1 / 743
Member:baystateRA
Title:The Night Circus
Authors:Erin Morgenstern
Info:Anchor (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:fiction, literary fantasy, circus, magicians, love story, fathers, life and death

Work details

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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English (668)  Dutch (4)  German (3)  Chinese (1)  Swedish (1)  Turkish (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (680)
Showing 1-5 of 668 (next | show all)
I really wanted to love this book. I love a good circus story plus add magic to it... what's not to love? The story was slow and extremely descriptive. Normally a descriptive book would be my cup of tea but this time it just dragged everything out. The feeling of suspense was lost within the fantastic descriptions of just about everything in the circus. I felt very close to the actual scenery but not that close to the actual characters from within. I liked this book but didn't LOVE it. I believe the author has great potential but needs to work out the balance between the speed of the plot and the denseness of the descriptive wording. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
Enchanting, beautifully written, and I liked the idea behind the novel. My one criticism would be that I didn't feel much happened, and I didn't completely buy in to "the game." I never feared for either protagonist and the story flowed from beginning to end without anything to get too stressed or worked up about.
Having said that, much of this could be down to Erin Morgenstern's writing style. And she has style in abundance. She imbues The Night Circus with an otherworldly magic that makes you feel like you're entering a parallel world just outside our own.

Ultimately I wouldn't recommend this book for readers looking for excitement or adventure. But for those who want to savour the words, the mood, and glide effortlessly through the alternate victorian world of Le Cirque des Rêves then this novel is for you. ( )
  JohnEKerry | Aug 20, 2014 |
This was very close to getting five stars. I felt a little slighted at the end, but maybe because I just always want more than there is to a story. I really want to have my own Midnight Dinner. It sounds really fun! ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
Magical and mysterious, The Night Circus has just become one of my favourite reads this year. The Night Circus appears with no announcement in the middle of the night, and is open from nightfall until dawn for the duration of its stay. It is not your conventional circus. There are multiple black and white striped tents, each home to a different performance, such as the acrobats. Or you can wander the paths between the tents and watch the performers in the open, who need no tent, like the contortionist. See the Wishing Tree, walk through the Ice Garden, and be caught up in a world so surreal that when you step outside the gates at dawn, you won’t be sure which world is real.

The circus is just a façade, however, for a competition between two magicians or illusionists or manipulators, whatever they like to be called. Each chooses an apprentice who they ready for 'the game'. The 'game' is vague and even its players don't understand, or aren't told, the rules. What starts out as something fun and challenging for the two brilliant students, Celia and Marco, becomes frustrating and even dangerous, as the whole circus is balanced on the two of them.

I was captivated by this book from the first page. It is something truly wonderful and it felt like it could go on forever and I would never get sick of it. The story is told in alternating perspectives between the years of its conception and further on in the future until the two storylines meet up. It was surprisingly easy to keep the two straight and I enjoyed making connections between past and future, although when it came to predicting the outcome I never even gave it a thought. As well as alternating timelines, characters were also alternated and by the end there were quite a few that we would follow, however it never felt like there were too many to keep track of. Morgenstern’s storytelling ensured that we only hear or saw what was most relevant and she kept everything running smoothly, much like the circus itself.

With so many characters to choose from, it’s difficult to pick a favourite as I feel they all bring something to the story. As well as the developing love story, somewhat agonising to read, there was also a coming-of-age story (who doesn’t love one of those!) and the magical tale of the circus itself – although those involved would instantly say ‘it’s not magic!’, but it feels like it. There are the ties of family, friendship and love which hold the circus together as well as the illusions and manipulations of the world around the circus. It all makes for a fantastic read and I guarantee you, by the end you will wish that it exists, just so you can experience what Morgenstern has so elegantly put into words.

However, I can see why some people have become frustrated while reading as it is a slow moving plot over a number of years. While I enjoyed the stunning imagery and scene setting, not everyone will. But I found it to be a truly enchanting book that I won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

( )
  crashmyparty | Aug 17, 2014 |
I really wanted to fall in love the characters in this book but in the end, I felt distant and end was predictable. ( )
  agentrv007 | Aug 17, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 668 (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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Canonical title
Original title
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Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
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Awards and honors
Epigraph
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 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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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