Stretched across the top of the gates, hidden in curls of iron, more firefly-like lights flicker to life. They pop as they brighten, some accompanied by a shower of glowing white sparks and a bit of smoke. The people nearest to the gates take a few steps back.
I can’t say what attracted me to The Night Circus. I have no particular interest in Circuses. The last one I went to (which may have also even been the first) ended prematurely due to a power failure. While they can be exhilarating I just find them pointless (bah humbug). But a night circus, that according to the back cover, was there one day when it wasn’t there the next, now that intrigued me, that sounded like magic.
While I wouldn’t agree with The Times that it is breathtaking, I do agree with the Independent that it is dazzling and even more with The Guardian that it is Enchanting.
I don’t want to outline the plot too much because I think part of the it’s appeal is the mystery when you start.
The prose is plain and simple, and it works because it allows Erin Morgenstern to describe the magic of the circus and the story without the words getting in the way. During the passages where you are in the circus, it’s like Morgenstern is painting a picture directly into your imagination. It made me feel like a kid again, where you really believed, and wanted so much, for things in books to be real, which I have not felt for a long time. While I love reading historical fiction, and wish I could be there at that particular time and place, this was different, more joyful and more imaginative.
You go along, finding out about stuff as the characters do, inter-sped with your own tour of the circus, and the story slowly becomes darker from the edges, yet although you can sense it, and feel it, it always seems just out of sight. The plot rolls along at a fair pace, although the time jumps are a big confusing as you have to remember you are in fact a few years after the chapter you have just read, but then back a few years before. Morgenstern takes the time to detail the circus, until you feel a part of it. Slowly but surely, along with the characters you feel you are in it, seeing the tents and performers, you care about them, even the ones you never meet.
Again I was intrigued about how the story was going to end, and part of me feels it ended in a rush, but then I thought, maybe Erin Morgenstern enjoyed writing and creating the circus so much that she realised it might never end, it could also be that I finished the last chunk of chapters in one go and didn’t like the bump into reality when I finished..
It’s a wonderful story, and even I would be sad to leave the Night Circus as dawn creeps over the horizon.