Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Night Circus wholly original, absolutely entrancing

Book 125: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 

Love and magic, so inextricably linked in popular culture, are antagonists in The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern’s alluring first novel.

The Night Circus is the story of a man and woman locked in a decades-long magic competition. They do not know the rules of the competition or its consequences. For many years, they remain a mystery to one another, competing in a shadowy vacuum, wondering if each person they meet might be their opponent.

What they do know is that the venue for the competition is a mysterious circus. Its tents and performers dressed only in black and white or shades of gray, the circus appears without warning in locations throughout the world. It is open only between sundown and sunrise. Its performers and everyone affiliated with it never seem to age.

The competition is the creation of two aging magicians striving to settle a philosophical disagreement about the nature of magic. In creating the competition they have ensnared, and disrupted, hundreds of lives, including the daughter of one of the magicians.

And in bringing together that daughter and an orphan boy, raised and trained by the second magician, they have unintentionally woven a spell -- not of magic, but love. 

Morgenstern’s two protagonist must ultimately settle the question of which is greater – magic or love.

In doing so, Morgenstern weaves her own magical spell. 

The Night Circus is wholly original and absolutely entrancing, a formidable first novel. It leaves me with two great wishes: that I had written this book and that on some future occasion, after the sun has set, I may visit this magical circus.

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