“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. The towering tents are striped in white and black, no golds and crimsons to be seen. No color at all, save for the neighboring trees and the grass of the surrounding fields. Black-and-white stripes on grey sky; countless tents of varying shapes and sizes, with an elaborate wrought-iron fence encasing them in a colorless world.”
These opening lines in Erin Morgenstern’s fabulous novel just begin to describe the beauty of Le Cirque des Reves (The Circus of Dreams). Her descriptions of the night circus make you wish that it was a real circus of which you could attend. I do not believe I have read a book so good in quite some time.
While I highly recommend this book, I will say that I have struggled with how to give a brief summary of it. It is not written in chronological order, but each chapter has a date and time stamp. While this is a little confusing in the beginning, it adds quite a bit of suspense and excitement as the story progresses. That being said, I have decided to tell you just a little about a few of the characters and then you can read the book to find out the rest!
Celia Bowen has been left by her mother to live with her father, Hector Bowen (also known as Prospero). Hector is a magician who is training Celia to follow in his footsteps. Hector and his former teacher, Alexander, have different ideas about how magic should be taught and used. This difference of opinion leads to challenges where both Hector and Alexander choose a student to teach using their methods and then have them dual in an agreed upon venue. For this particular challenge, Hector chooses his daughter and Alexander chooses a boy from an orphanage who comes to be known as Marco.
Bailey, a young boy living on his family’s farm, is a lover of Le Cirque des Reves. When the circus comes to his town of Concord, Massachusetts he spends as many nights as he possibly can exploring the many tents within the circus boundaries. While knowing that the circus is off limits during the day, Bailey responds to a dare from his sister to sneak into its gates before nightfall. While there, he meets a beautiful red haired girl known as Poppet who will help him make one of the most important decisions of his life.
Erin Morgenstern intricately weaves the lives of these (along with many more) characters together and the result is a book that is sure to be talked about for years to come.
Note: If you like audiobooks, I highly recommend listening to The Night Circus. The narrator is fabulous.
Image from http://erinmorgenstern.com/the-night-circus/.