Search This Blog

Saturday, June 09, 2012

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus has been on my list for quite a while, and recently, the library had an available copy.  This one has been read and reviewed so many times that you may not want to bother with reading another review.

I can say that it didn't disappoint in the realm of imagery.  The Night Circus is a visual feast that makes black and white magical and chimerical.  The descriptions are beautiful, enticing, seductive, and you want to experience the magic for yourself, to wander among the tents, have your fortune told, and to marvel at the illusions.

My relationship with magical realism is ambivalent, and while  I've loved some books in this category, others have left me cold.  The Night Circus falls on the more positive side of this division, but as lovely as the package, the content was not completely satisfying.

The language, the descriptions, the originality, and the creative imagination of the book are tremendously appealing, but the pacing, the chronological shifts, and the thin characters are a drawback.

I really enjoyed the book, but I did want it to be more, to be fuller in some way.  Morgenstern is a conjurer herself, creating a beautiful and enticing atmosphere that the reader gladly enters with all of the curiosity and amazement of the reveurs who follow the circus from place to place.  If only I could have connected more with the characters....

This is, however, Morgenstern's first novel, and she has created a work of remarkable art and beauty.  I definitely look forward to more from this author.

Fiction.  Fantasy/Magical Realism.  2011.  387 pages.


  1. I'm really curious to see how I will like it as yours isn't the first review saying something was missing. maybe it's almost too perfect and too descriptive somehow.
    I will certainly read it sooner or later.

  2. I didn't think I'd like this one but I did -- great debut novel.

  3. I enjoyed the audio, thanks to the marvelous Jim Dale. I agree that the nonlinear narrative was a bit confusing, but I fell in love with Bailey and Poppet. I'd love to see this one on the big screen. Looking forward to Ms. Morgenstern's next endeavor!

  4. Caroline - I did like it, but I would have liked the characters to have been rounder, warmer somehow.

    Diane - I know, I liked it as well and think the author is very talented. I look forward to more from Morgenstern.

    Les - I agree about Bailey and Poppet and almost mentioned that in the review. They were more human, more lovable. Maybe that was deliberate--Celia and Marco simply were emotionally stunted by their bizarre upbringing.