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The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
17,4941233270 (4.06)3 / 1111
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.
  1. 7510
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (historycycles, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Magical rivalries are at the heart of these unconventional Fantasy novels, which play out over decades and against elaborate, atmospheric 19th-century backdrops. Their initially relaxed pacing gains momentum as the various narrative threads dramatically converge.… (more)
  2. 331
    Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (JGKC)
  3. 250
    The Prestige by Christopher Priest (shelfoflisa, 47degreesnorth)
    shelfoflisa: Another tale of duelling victorian magicians
  4. 4021
    Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Oryan685)
  5. 173
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Larkken)
    Larkken: Each detail a dreamlike world overlapping but hidden from the real world to most people.
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    The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (LDVoorberg)
    LDVoorberg: Fantasy with enough reality to make it seem plausible
  7. 178
    The Magicians by Lev Grossman (Anonymous user)
  8. 81
    Little, Big by John Crowley (ktbarnes)
    ktbarnes: Both have magical realism, with a fairytale feel
  9. 60
    Od Magic by Patricia A. McKillip (amysisson)
    amysisson: Both are fantasy about magic and performance, with lovely writing.
  10. 84
    Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin (TomWaitsTables)
  11. 62
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (bluenotebookonline)
  12. 30
    Touch by Alexi Zentner (JessiAdams)
    JessiAdams: Both books have a similiar combination of realism and fantasy with similiar imagery. Wish I could describe it better, but I can't. Both of these books just FEEL the same.
  13. 30
    The Merro Tree by Katie Waitman (amysisson)
    amysisson: Both are about the magic of performance, and have colorful performer characters, although one is science fiction and the other is fantasy.
  14. 20
    Mr. Vertigo by Paul Auster (tandah)
  15. 21
    Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Beautiful type of fairy tale
  16. 21
    Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor (tralliott)
  17. 10
    When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (kgriffith)
    kgriffith: Magical realism, beautiful prose, setting as a character/catalyst
  18. 10
    The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Everyone loves a fantastical circus.
  19. 10
    Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter (mzonderm)
  20. 00
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Kata18)
    Kata18: Both books feel a little like a dream with a touch of magic that's not quite explained.

(see all 28 recommendations)

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» See also 1111 mentions

English (1,220)  Dutch (4)  German (3)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  Greek (1)  Turkish (1)  Finnish (1)  Swedish (1)  Chinese (1)  All languages (1,235)
Showing 1-5 of 1220 (next | show all)
There was something about the organization that created a distance (perhaps the time jumping?). The descriptions of the circus were lovely, but I found it hard to care too much about the characters. All the same, my eyes did water with a very specific nostalgia at the end. ( )
  Afriendlyhorse | Sep 19, 2023 |
I didn't finish this book. I got halfway through and realized nothing was happening, and I didn't care about any of the characters.

I will say, the concept is amazing. The circus itself is described in epic, cinematic terms. It had so much potential!

But the chapters kept jumping from the circus to different characters, none of whom we got to know at all, so I didn't care about them. By the halfway point, I wasn't even sure who the protagonist was.

I may seem harsh, but I was so looking forward to this book, and was left very disappointed. I gave up because if I didn't care through the first half, and doubted there'd be anything in the second half to change that. ( )
  Frances333 | Aug 30, 2023 |
I had high hopes for this book, and it started out quite promising. However, it dragged on, with verbose description just for the sake of it. As vivid as the imagery is, it's only enchanting for so long before it gets monochromatic (hah). I don't know if I'm just not mature enough to appreciate the book, but I'm personally unimpressed, especially after the glowing reviews it has got. ( )
  BlingthePing | Aug 27, 2023 |
a somewhat fascinating book of a certain type which used to be more common in the last century : a set piece right down to its magic and invocation of a dead past, in this case featuring a magic realism version of the 1870s to 1920s. it offers up not so much bread to fill the belly in the evanescent style the writing chooses, but plenty of circuses, which after all - who can resist them? here the effect is reminiscent of the tone of Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. so: wonderful, in its way, evoking both horror and romance to drive the narrative, and i love the luxury train and the time jumps and the unusual type of magic evoked. but i did not find it perfect except in that ship-in-a-bottle sense, and that's because in terms of story the whole narrative feels very static, which is perhaps because the Gilded Age background, old-money class, and emphasis on tarot-defined futures all contribute to that frozen feeling of cards playing out inexorably, with the result that momentum suffers and the settings are much more vivid than the characters. still, it tackles the downside of immortality, a great subject though not a common one, and there's a ton of imagination to all the detail of the description of the world, so i'll be happy to read her next book. ( )
  macha | Aug 21, 2023 |
That was actually quite cute. I was pretty sure I would not like it, based on the first 50 pages, which were incredibly twee: second-person present tense; ancient enchanters and arcane duels and a steampunk circus? But I fell into the evocative writing and the enchantment of a mystical place, and I found it just as atmospheric as intended. Yes, there was no plot and no characters to speak of, but those things weren't strictly necessary to the goal, which seemed to be purely setting description. In a lot of ways, I found it most similar to Palimpest, in that the focus was exploring the depth of a physical place, its rules, its sights and sounds and scents, rather than a traditional narrative. ( )
  settingshadow | Aug 19, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 1220 (next | show all)
Morgenstern’s wonderful novel is made all the more enchanting by top-notch narration from the incomparable Jim Dale.
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 (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Morgenstern, Erinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dale, JimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fontana, JohnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forrester, KateCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jakobeit, BrigitteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koay, Pei LoiDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magrì, MarinellaTranslatorsecondary 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.
“The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones.”
“People see what they wish to see. And in most cases, what they are told that they see.”
“Secrets have power. And that power diminishes when they are shared, so they are best kept and kept well. Sharing secrets, real secrets, important ones, with even one other person, will change them."
“Life takes us to unexpected places sometimes. The future is never set in stone, remember that.”
“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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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

No library descriptions found.

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.

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