Book Review (#25): The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

night circus

5

HAPPY NANOWRIMO MONTH!

It’s true I have stopped writing after last November, but still. I thought that in honor of this beautiful literary month, I could show my appreciation for words the way I now like to do it. So here I am with a review that is long over due for the Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which I’ve finished a bit over two weeks ago.

This is a book that I’ve heard multiple, very different opinions on via the blogsphere and Goodreads friends. Some said that there were too many unnecessary details, making the book drag on; others said it was quite good for a debut novel. But these comments discouraged me a little and I left  the book on the shelf longer than I should have. I think it was around the time that I was racing through Gone with the Wind that Jeff from Stuff Jeff Reads mentioned to me that this was “one of the best books he’s read in a while”. And Jeff is the sort of reader I aspire to be one day; I’m absolutely addled by his selection of books, and that’s why the Night Circus was the book I picked up next. Had it not been for Jeff, this beauty would’ve still been left unraveled on my shelf. So thank you, Jeff. You were totally right!

And here’s why.

night circus

Circuses, as I’ve noticed, are not a particularly unique setting for books. Recently, there has been several of those around, one that I can mention off the top of my head is Water for Elephants, and I’ve come upon another one this year but I can’t remember its name for the life of me. But that doesn’t matter because what I’m trying to say is, as a basic idea, it’s not necessarily earth-shattering or mind blowing. What makes this book work though is the seamless interlacing of details and the inventive nooks and crannies that you’ll come upon as you explore Morgenstern’s world. Or maybe that’s just me. Honestly though, this is one book that has swept me off my feet. And after a bit over a month of not reading, this was such a refreshing start; I don’t think I’ve been this passionate about a book since Harry Potter, I guess.

I think the architecture of the story itself adds a lot to the mystery and allure of everything; it’s quite brilliant, really. As you start out with three just barely related stories, each occurring in a different decade, you can just about tell what’s going on, but you keep on going anyway because you’ll want to piece it all together. It’s like the circus itself, overwhelming at first but then intriguing, and every bit of it is where you’d rather be.

Also, this is an author who understands the importance of atmosphere for a story like this one and has excelled in its execution. The perfection of details regarding, well, everything really! Whether it’s a dress or a room, food or a person! There was always a consistency in the marvelling writing style and inventive touch to every detail, giving the story a set of unique assets. The elemental composition of the world is so homogeneous yet always capable of surprising you, taking your breath away as the story progresses. And if Erin Morgenstern –actually I’ll drop the formalities and just call her Erin because I believe we should be friends. So yeah, Erin should take a tip from me and start working on a catalog of a sort in which we get to explore more of the circus and the tents because I really haven’t had enough of it. Then it would be turned into a movie, then a theme park, then I can die happy.

Okay, I’m getting too ahead of myself.

What should we tackle next? I would say the romance. This is my favourite sort of romance: subtle yet electrifying. I loved how the characters just absolutely knew each other and how meaningful and thoughtful each of their gestures were. Adult romances usually tend to be steamy, borderline crazy when it comes to relationships, but this was absolutely perfect to me. Every word said between lovers suited the book’s overall big picture and mood. Every scene was dazzling and sparkling, and I just shivered with awe every time any of the couples were together in the same room.

What really brought everything together for me though was the fact that even magic had its limitations. That in a world as perfect as Le Cirque Des Reves, fractures could surface, and that among all the beauty and the mystifying security there was loss (which I teared up over, by the way). I loved how it wasn’t just about the circus and its members but also the people surrounding it, the fandom, and how there was a spotlight on that. It just completed the circus and made it feel more real and tangible, even though it’s everything but that. And that I shall forever grieve. Anyway, this particular point is why the book didn’t feel too fantasy –which I wouldn’t have had any problem with– for me. But what I’m trying to say is that I admired how understated and natural all the magic seemed to be, how all the characters and events perfectly toed the line that separates realistic fiction from fantasy, which made it even easier to relate to the characters, each of which, by the way, is fleshed out to perfection.

So in short: just bloody pick this book up already if you haven’t. It’s a dozen of beautiful things strung together, and you need it in your life!

Before I bid you adieu, I feel that I owe a little bit of explanation as to why I’ve been away. I have started university all of a sudden and I now commute an average of 4 hours a day. Therefore, I barely have time to breathe. But thanks to my killer commuting duration, I get to read more than I could hope for, which is great. So hopefully, I’ll be able to arrange some time for writing reviews every now and then. Reviewing is not something I would like to back out of yet; not with Dilettante Artiste’s first anniversary around the corner anyway!

I guess that is all! Do let me know if you’ve read the book and what you think about it! Let me know if there’s some crazy equivalent to Reveurs online because that’d be just perfect. If you haven’t read it yet, then shoo! Go to some bookstore and pick yourself a copy then come back and rave with me about it!

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2 thoughts on “Book Review (#25): The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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