Over the weekend, I finished what was, for me, the best Book of the Year (BOTY), The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
It was an amazing work that gripped me from start to finish.
I am still astonished that the author is so young, and that this is her first published book...she could easily be our next Alice Hoffman or Mary Stewart or Neil Gaiman, for that matter. Her ability to create a dark, alluring atmosphere is unparalleled and her prose is delicious, as addictive as sacher torte or a red velvet cupcake with dark chocolate icing...sweet and yet not nauseatingly childlike...its the full-flavor of a sinful, irresistible adult confection.
Here's the book jacket summation:
"The Circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lamp posts or billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique experience, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as a tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.
Welcome to Le Cirque des Reves.
Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way--a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a game to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters."
What follows are gorgeous magics that are illuminated at the beginning of each chapter with such evocative sincerity that the reader is hard-pressed to not run out and attempt to find Le Cirque des Reves and wander its pathways oneself. The characters are well fleshed out (unless they are ghosts), believable and fascinating. The plot is swift, sure and intense throughout the novel. I tried in vain to slow down the turning of pages, so as to savor the wonderment and experience each sensual chapter for as long as possible, but inevitably, the end drew nigh and I was finished at midnight last night, which is somehow appropriate, as the Cirque des Reves opens at nightfall and closes at dawn in whichever town it has landed. The story takes place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, so we get a glimpse of a more gilded age, a time when gentlemen wore bowler hats and ladies wore gowns and gloves. The love story woven throughout the Night Circus is written with an air of discreet melancholy and framed by sacrifice. There is almost a Shakespearean aspect to it, beautiful but bittersweet.
As you can imagine, I highly recommend this novel for anyone of an artistic or creative nature, and for those who enjoy beautiful stories, well told. A+ and a white rose to the author, Erin Morgenstern. I now consider myself a dedicated Reveur, and will wear a dark red scarf this winter in honor of this mesmerizing work.
Also, I adored this list, which has so many characters I adore on it, I felt I had to post it here: