The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern
"Le Cirque des Rêves”
We all have memories of the circus we have visited in our childhood- the acts, the ambience, the food and the colorful candies. It used to be an experience which we would cherish for a year until the circus visited our town again. Add to it the magic which you have always imagined, the miracle you have always wanted to witness and the weirdest but yummiest food ever and that gives us- The Night Circus.
In my far fantasies also, I could never fathom the idea of a circus experience that Erin gives us. It is whimsical in its own way, the finesse with which she creates the circus and the narrative with which she makes readers visualise is extraordinary. So when you finish the book, what lingers on in your mind are the visual images of the circus- the acrobats, the wishing tree, the bonfire and the colourful delightful ambience inside the black and white tents.
The Night Circus- Also called “Le Cirque des Rêves”, the Circus of Dreams, is not a normal circus with some acrobats and animal stunts; it is certainly more than that. It is a circus which opens after sunset and stays on till dawn, it moves in a train to places, and comes without any prior notice, no posters and no flyers and no set schedule; so one day you are elated with surprise that it’s here, and the other day you are sad that it left. But what it leaves you with is a hope and anxiety – when will it be back? Or will it be back ever? Because, something which you love dearly vanishes without saying a bye gives a pang of pain and disappointment.
The story is about two people with special powers and how they get confined within the circus because of a bond which their teachers make on their behalf, ruining lives of the people in the circus, without any motive. It is a game in which the two protagonists are trapped, a game to showcase their power, their wizardry and their miraculous talent with circus being their medium. Will there be a winner? Or are they just two victims who are eternally the slaves of time, for how does one know who wins and when? The circus is because of them- so what happens once the game is over? The Night Circus answers all the questions, for behind this eventful and moving circus, there is a more moving and dark love story – love for the circus and love between 'them'.
The characters are very impressive, not one but all. The contortionist, Tsukiko, Expert Clock maker Theisen, Tara and Lainie Burgess, Mr. Barris and Chandhresh. The protagonists are Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair, protégé and students of Hector Bowen (Prospero the enchanter) and Alexander respectively. What ties them all together is the Circus. The characters complement the backdrop very well, and give meaning to the plot at every level. Speaking of characters, Bailey is an important character too, fighting his fate and his decisions, until he finally understands that his future lies in the existence of the Circus.
Erin Morgenstern has done a wonderful job creating the circus. It is totally enchanting and enigmatic. The idea of writing a fantasy novel with this theme was totally new, and I am sure readers will be transported back to the time when they were kids and enjoyed a circus, and wish for the Night Circus to be at their rescue. The book will not attract you if you can’t be imaginative enough to read it. One can’t understand how Marco makes a ship with books and pages in the sea of ink for Celia, or how a garden of ice would look, if he confines his imagination to a certain length.
This book was a recommendation from a friend, and I am glad I agreed to read it, for I was skeptical reading a fantasy book and writing about it. It not only made me realize that I have a vast imaginative power but I also learnt that weaving whims and fancies with appropriate words and language is very important, for it is the only tool which can make the readers connect to the mind of author while writing the novel and accepting it at that level.
It will take you on a dreamy ride. I might have missed out on million of things, writing this review, as there as many intricate details that catch a reader’s attention. Therefore it is a “Must read!” to discover them on your own.