A beautiful, tangled, magical fever dream of a tale, complete with magical lovers, good & evil & shades of grey, hope, longing, mystery and an ending that pays it’s respects to all that’s gone gone before. Characters may be exactly what they seem, or they could be something more (or less…or different?)
Two children grow up in different ways, but their purpose is the same; to best the other in a “game” where the one left standing is the winner. Of course, neither Celia or Marco – the players, if that middling term can be used to describe their competition – know that’s the end game. So they, of course, fall deeply in love with each other. As their love deepens the competition becomes more than one vs the other, pulling in the people who surround them. All of this centers around a circus so Other and magical it seems to be a player itself.
The “main characters” aren’t the only ones who can pull you into their personal stories. Widget and Poppet – great names for kittens, aptly enough – are twins born in the circus during it’s first night. Friedrick Thiessen and Bailey; one has a hand in the creation of the circus, the other is a farm boy who meets Poppet, but both become entranced by the wonders found in the tents, and each helps the circus in his own way. Then there’s the circus itself, brought to such beautiful, clear, vibrant life that it feels like the illusions Ceila and Marco create. Then again every other place this book lives in has a loving attention to detail that made me want to both speed read and savor Morgenstern’s amazing prose.
Finishing it makes me long for a red scarf, caramel apples, dancing kittens and chocolate mice with licorice tails. Which means I’ll have to read it again. Luckily that’ll be a pleasure. I’m betting each re-visit will add more to the this story bringing out things that may have been missed earlier, when I was fascinated by something else from the page – or paragraph – before.
Can one be a rêveur of a book? With The Night Circus, I’ve no doubt that’s possible.