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The Night Circus

Books & Guides

West Moreton Anglican College student and budding novelist Talia Wright reviews Erin Morgenstern’s novel, The Night Circus: “You will never look at the midnight darkness and stars in the same way after finishing this glorious book. Each star holds a mystery and each shadow a new adventure.”

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I was enthralled by the beauty and mystique of Erin Morgenstern’s phenomenal novel The Night Circus, which left me looking at the world in a different way, including the colours and the people that surround me. At night I dream of the novel’s black and white striped tents and how fantastic it would be were I to become a rêveur (or ‘dreamer’). To travel the world dressed in black, white and dark greys with a splash of red, sounds like the perfect way to live out the long nights.

Oh, the night! You will never look at the midnight darkness and stars in the same way after finishing this glorious book. Each star holds a mystery and each shadow a new adventure.

Morgenstern has created one of the worlds I have always wanted to visit. The 19th and 20th centuries are shrouded in the beauty and glamour of high society and wonderment.

The novel’s circus includes contortionists, wishing trees, lions and panthers, labyrinths and rideable clouds, as well as stars, magical bonfires, fortune tellers and elaborate timepieces that fill the nights for the circus goers, with only the true rêveurs staying till dawn. Many return the following night for fear the circus will leave, with only the hope of returning. Just as the circus arrives without warning, so too does it leave.

But it is not just the fantastic setting, as the plot is wonderful, too. Les Cirque des Rêves (‘The Circus of Dreams’) is not just an exciting place to visit – there was an ulterior motive in its creation. Conceived by the greatest magical and creative minds, the circus plays host to a challenge between two competitors, working to be the best magicians. But how do they win a game they do not know how to play?

Of course, the setting and plot are not the only selling points, the characters are plentiful, and each is more unique than the last. Morgenstern has described them in such fabulously intricate detail, it is as if you are part of the story, becoming friends with the characters. The personal relationships between them are wonderful and deep, allowing the story to bleed through into every aspect of this glorious tale.

The world-building that this book has undergone is by far better than most I have come across in other novels. Every scene is tangible to the point where you can feel the warmth or coolness, the smells and the breezes, and even the raindrops on your skin.

I wish to become lost in the maze of black and white stripes and find the impressive secluded tents filled with magic and have it feel as if they were made for only me. For once, I am envious of a world and people I can never truly meet, even though I feel that I have.

The night circus opens at nightfall and closes at dawn. Do you wish to visit? Be ready, but do not be scared, for you are always safe within the circus.

If you are looking for the perfect book to read of an evening, curled on the lounge with a hot chocolate, then this is the book for you.

Erin Morgenstern, 2011. The Night Circus. Doubleday, New York.

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