The Night Circus is almost impossible to describe, not only because there are so many layers to the narrative, but also because knowing too much in advance will ruin the journey. As you travel through Le Cirque des Rêves, the Circus of Dreams, you experience the ever growing wonders found with in its innumerable tents. At the same time, you follow the lives of the circus’s creators and the sacrifices that are made to keep it going.
The Night Circus is a story with many layers, seen and unseen. As each layer is revealed it adds to the mystery and enchantment, instead of unraveling it. Normally I do not like chronologically disordered stories, but it is absolutely necessary in The Night Circus. The circus is timeless, all events seem to happen forever and in an instant. The varied pacing by perspective solidifies this illusion. The story is also very tactile. Unlike most circuses and magic tricks, where things look cheap and insubstantial when you look too closely, every part of The Night Circus becomes richer with more detail. Illusions turn out to be real, the fabrics and objects are luxurious, and the food is more delicious with each bite. At times I felt like I could smell and taste the caramel and popcorn.
Before reading The Night Circus, I heard nothing but good things, but very little detail. Everyone proclaimed it a must read, but no one mentioned why. It is a story that is a very individual experience. The descriptions of the enchantments provide a springboard for each reader’s imagination. Although Morgenstern’s imagery is extraordinary, she enables the reader to embellish it substantially. It is hard to not imagine every aspect of a jacket turning to a raven and flying away after it is thrown into the air. Though many parts of the story may not be new ideas, the experience of reading them is entirely new. No part of the story is unenjoyable. Much like the circus, no detail is overlooked in The Night Circus, and you will come away having found more then you ever expected.
If you have your ticket, step right up and read The Night Circus.
Morgenstern, Erin. The Night Circus. New York: Random House, Inc, 2011. Kindle Edition.