23.7.15

The Night Circus By Erin Morgenstern - A Book Review

I have been struggling to read books lately, and yet my book pile keeps growing! Luckily it is moving into summer festival season where I have time off and sunny days in a tent away from digital devices and usually lacking a phone signal. This weekend was the first of many summer festivals and I was able to finish a book I started a while ago. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which I confess I bought mainly because of its intriguing cover and when I dipped into it at random (a technique I favour in book selection) I loved the style of the writing.

Having finished it I was keen to review it so you can share the joy. First things first, this was not my favourite story. I have read stories that grabbed me more. There is a story but it's quite mixed in time and place and it didn't grab me and drag me along as some books have. That said, the dreamlike style of the writing matched the smooth and ethereal feel of the plot.

The tale begins with a competition between two people who we barely know, though of course we learn more about them as the story builds. The competition is not played out by these powerful characters though, but rather, by young stand-ins that themselves don't know all of the mystery, or of the full scope of the competition.

The Night Circus is the chess board and we are drawn into its magical collection of tents and acts, of art and scents, of music and melody. For someone that loves festivals I was really taken with the images. The writing itself is gorgeous, creamy and rich. I normally hate books that focus on description too much but I could honestly have read this forever. I reread several paragraphs just because they were so perfect, so beautiful.

I don't want to spoil anything in the book for you (because you simply must read it if you haven't already) but I did tweet this...and was excited to receive a reply.


And I'm not lying, it was scorchingly written, but not over the top or flowery, just wonderful.

But I'll leave you with something I loved from the beginning of the book. And then you can run off and grab yourself a copy, make some hot chocolate and popcorn, and enter the Night Circus, weather permitting. Take a red scarf.
"He had expected it to be a show.
Something to sit in a chair and watch.
He realized quickly how wrong he was.
It was something to be explored.
He investigated it as best he could, though he felt woefully unprepared. He did not know which tents to choose out of dozens of options, each with tantalizing signs hinting at the contents. And every turn he took through the twisting striped pathways led to more tents, more signs, more mysteries.
He found a tent full of acrobats and stayed amongst them as they twirled and spun until his neck ached from staring up. He wandered through a tent full of mirrors and saw hundreds and thousands of Baileys staring, wide-eyed, back at him, each in matching grey caps.
Even the food was amazing. Apples dipped in caramel so dark they appeared almost blackened but remained light and crisp and sweet. Chocolate bats with impossibly delicate wings. The most delicious cider Bailey had ever tasted.
Everything was magical"