Thursday 19 October 2017

The Night Circus

The Night Circus
The Night Circus
By Erin Morgenstern

Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus is a spellbinding fairy tale of a novel.  Jumping back and forth through time, and moving from London to Cairo to Boston to Montreal, The Night Circus makes you feel as though magic is everywhere, if you just know where to look.

Hector Bowen makes his living as a magician.  But unlike other magicians of the 1870s, his performances go beyond the usual sleight of hand.  Hector, or Prospero as he is known, enchants his audience like no other.  

When Hector is presented with his estranged 5-year-old daughter Celia, he realizes that she has the gift of magic as well, and vows to train her.  But Hector is an arrogant man.  He binds Celia to an unbreakable vow; Celia, as an adult, will have to compete in a magical contest she knows little about.  And Hector, as “coach”, wants her to win.

But what will be the venue for this magical showdown?  Enter the Night Circus.  This is a circus the likes of which the world has never seen.  The Night Circus will suddenly appear in random cities during the overnight hours, making residents feel as though it has appeared by magic.  The circus is open each night from dusk to dawn.  Each tent is more mesmerizing than the next, with acts that include the incredible tattooed contortionist, a vertical labyrinth with a trapdoor exit at the top, a room full of bottles containing scents that transport visitors to other lands, and of course, the magic of Celia.

At the Night Circus, Celia meets Marco, and their romantic connection causes the earth to move – literally.  But Marco is revealed to be Celia’s competitor, and the two must navigate an epic romance that seems doomed from the start.  Which one will be the victor?  Can there be a winner in a scenario where the competitors fall in love?

The Night Circus will draw you in just as the fictional Night Circus draws in followers.  Many of the novel’s characters can think of nothing else after they attend.  Erin Morgenstern’s writing is magical realism at its best; you always feel that you’re teetering on the edge of fantasy and reality, but you can never decide which is best.