When looking for a new book to read from scratch (i.e. not recommended) I hate to admit that I am always drawn to the covers, especially ones which seem to be matt rather than shiny – odd yes I know. I also tend to go for dark colours, blacks, blues, monotones, very simple with a mystic flare about them. So when I was browsing the shelves of Waterstones one afternoon in hope of finding my next treasure I came across The Night Circus – I had in fact spotted it earlier in the day in the window and though it might be something that would tickle my fancy of fictional worlds and make-believe storylines. The cover is a mix of white and black with specs of red highlighting certain features; all very ‘me’. The blurb, as I assume with most readers, is the contract for commitment; a good blurb makes the sale. The Night Circus was short, mysterious and provoking and I instantly wanted to know more; I was sold.
The book itself is made up of several storylines eventually folding in on themselves, coming together to create the finale of the plot. It opens with a snippet of how you, the reader, are feeling as you approach the circus and wait to go inside, just as you wait to start the story you are holding in your hands. Then it swiftly cuts to the opening of the storyline landing you in New York in 1873 and from there you are taken all over the world, to different years at different points in the book. You meet a range of characters and flit between different stages of their lives, watching as the different storylines slowly come together. All the while you are still being given snippets of the circus as if you are there, and finally as the book pulls to a close you are able to see why, the snippets have not just been to give you the experience of the circus, they have been giving you insight into the different characters, letting you relate their talents and how they come into play with the story as a whole. You immediately fall in love with the characters, despite their being two separate generations living the same tale in the same setting but having two completely different outcomes.
The story itself if captivating, it captures your imagination and lets you run wild, letting you believe in the things we were told to forget as children. Magic emanates from the pages and drags you in so you are immersed amongst it rather than letting it fade once you turn the page. I say this with complete honesty, I could not put this book down, mainly for want of the world never to leave me, and I doubt it ever will. I am desperate to see it come to life, I hope someone picks it up and creates a film from it, as I believe the set would be otherworldly (I would love to decorate a set like this – despite my lack of experience).
Praise must be given to Erin Morgenstern for her capture of beauty in the form of writing, a true talent. I was able to create the entire circus in my mind as I read and it continually made me want to go there, to be part of it, to smell the caramel. She has been able to cast a spell over me, and I am truly sad that the book had to come to an end, but now I await her next novel with the greatest expectations – no pressure – in hope that it will whisk me away to another world where the ability to believe is all you need.
“The circus arrives without warning.” – The Night Circus, By Erin Morgenstern.