“The circus arrives without warning. . . It is simply there when yesterday it was not.” It’s a mystical Victorian circus and as it travels its fame grows. The appeal is to all ages, and a group of fans form with mysterious ways to predict where the circus may appear next. Open only from sunset to sunrise, the night hours are filled with magic, caramel popcorn, chocolate mice, tents with acts to astound you, a blazing bonfire, the most intricate grandfather clock ever, an intense competition to the death, and an eternal love. This may seem like more than a circus can offer, but “The Night Circus” is a novel that delivers all that.
Two magicians, too young to know what is happening, are tricked into a mortal competition by two very old, fanatic, illusionist fathers. The rules of the competition are a blur. The two young magicians grow up to compete with their magical creations in the circus, pawns in the old men’s game.
Magic has become a natural part of the lives of these two magicians. They both seek a way to break the spell of the competitive tie that binds them. That tie is engraved with this directive, “To be, rather than to seem.” Do these magicians step beyond illusion and create a magical reality? When you exit the magical circus at dawn, are you actually leaving reality behind and to go to an illusion of life?
The night circus is a world created by the main characters. The different tents they create are only limited by imagination. You’ll delight in the author’s scintillating views of these amazing feats. By design it is a black and white, Victorian circus. The magic is within, and despite all attempts at control, shades of grey bleed out and spark intrigue. The author’s description of the world is detailed and creates beautiful settings for the characters’ actions, whether they are characters within the circus or outside of it. There are stories extending to the circus’ owning board members, in London. There is the story of a farm boy in Massachusetts who discovers the allure of the circus. He enters the circus world for the first time on a dare, and his life is irrevocably changed.
A movie loosely based on the book is in production, with the release date not set at this time. So don’t wait for the movie, but start reading “The Night Circus” tonight. In an interview, Erin Morgenstern said, “I like my magic to seem possible. A little bit of magic around things has always interested me as an escape from the everyday.”
Thereby hangs a tale . . . .
– By Wendy Kendall
Wendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. She’s enjoyed living in Edmonds for over 20 years. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.