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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Review


Somewhere around six months ago I wrote a blog post about The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. The book was getting a lot of attention and critical acclaim, and I wondered whether the attention was warranted, or was clever marketing. I didn’t think I would like a book about a circus, even if it was aimed at adults.

Well, six months later, I have finally gotten off my rear end and read it, and I was wrong. I absolutely love this book. And for the record, I believe that both adults and children – over the age of 10, let’s say – will be caught up in it and enjoy every minute.

First, let me say that while I understand the comparisons to the Harry Potter series – there is magic, wonder and enchantment to rival the Hogwart’s great hall ceiling on every page of this book – it is absolutely its own unique creature. All of my misgivings about a circus book were in vain, so let me put that to rest for others who might have preconceived notions and be wrinkling their noses. This is not the chaotic, obnoxious rainbow circus we remember from childhood, punctuated by the brash honking of bicycle horns and the cringing guilt around wild animals doing tricks in captivity. Nobody will squirt water from a lapel flower or race around crammed into a tiny car with six of his friends. There are no folding metal chairs, no sticky cotton candy crushed beneath your feet.

The Night Circus is an experience unlike any you can imagine. It is magical and awe-inspiring, and a dreamscape so beautiful and impossible that you’ll never want to leave. The book, like the astonishing world it describes, reveals itself slowly, a bit at a time, always offering something new to explore around every corner. Morgenstern has offered us a tour of her entire imagination (and it’s an impressive one) – we can smell our dreams and favorite places, all contained in beautiful glass bottles and jars, snuff boxes and music boxes, lockets and keepsake tins. Some smell of salt air, suntan lotion and creosote, and sound like the ocean and the cry of gulls. Some surround you in baking apples and cinnamon, the sound of a crackling fire, the feel of pine needles underfoot. All our memories, all our dreams, all the fantastic wonders real and imagined, possible and impossible – they’re all here, inside this book. It was a treat to read.

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Beth Carswell

About Beth Carswell

I've been reading, selling, researching, loving and writing about books with AbeBooks since 2000.

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