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The Night Circus | [Erin Morgenstern]

The Night Circus

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
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Publisher's Summary

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

©2011 Erin Morgenstern (P)2011 Random House

What the Critics Say

"The Night Circus made me happy. Playful and intensely imaginative, Erin Morgenstern has created the circus I have always longed for, and she has populated it with dueling love-struck magicians, precocious kittens, hyper-elegant displays of beauty, and complicated clocks. This is a marvelous book." (Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife)

"Self-assured, entertaining debut that blends genres and crosses continents in quest of magic…. Generous in its vision and fun to read. Likely to be a big book—and, soon, a big movie, with all the franchise trimmings." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Debut author Morgenstern doesn't miss a beat in this smashing tale of greed, fate, and love... a giant, magical story destined for bestsellerdom. This is an electric debut on par with Special Topics in Calamity Physics." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (7743 )
5 star
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4.1 (6883 )
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Story
4.5 (6875 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Christopher Brunswick, ME, United States 09-22-11
    Christopher Brunswick, ME, United States 09-22-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascination."
    Any additional comments?

    Beautiful in its delicate intimacy. The prose draws one in with a structure that evades the jarring bullishness of "sudden action" fiction. Instead the author lets the story build slowly; "action" is treated with the same tempo as any other scene. As one listens, it is easy feel a little lost in the maze of time lines, characters, places and and emotions, but I think that is what the author had in mind. A book that tells a dream like story in a way that makes you the reader, or listener in this case, feel like you are witnessing the events in a dream. Each description is so detailed yet is only a snapshot of a given view, as if you focused for only a moment on one object in time and space and then moved on into the next. This book is uncommon in its power to antagonize the imagination to "see" the images in the same way we see images in a dream. The story line itself was a touch to well known for me, as a codification of Shakespearean tragedy, Greek, and Modernistic redemptive tragedy and I could see the tales that the author drew from to form the basis of this work. The story does travel at one speed never going faster or slower from beginning to end, yet that was what was intended to maintain that dream-like feeling. This is an excellent snowy night book, or a nice glass of mulled cider on the porch in Autumn kinda day.
    A word about Jim Dale. I wonder if I was not the only one who had a few minutes disorientation when I heard Hermione Granger's "voice" come from Celia Bowen's mouth. Or Albus's voice from Alexander. The voices were well chosen and Jim went to the extremes of his talent to maintain the beauty and power of the dream. I don't think anyone could have done this story better....well maybe lLoyd James or Gerard Doyle could have given it a good run. You will have to forgive me because Jim narrated the Potter series and for over 200 hours I heard Celia's voice used for Hermione, it takes a little bit to transition :) Well done Jim!

    55 of 65 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 09-28-12
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 09-28-12 Member Since 2015

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "The Circus is Coming!"

    Within moments of beginning this recording my toes began curling with pleasure and I felt cozy comforters being tucked in around me. This is an extraordinary story with extraordinary narration. Some might describe this story as dark, but a story which is uniformly uplifting can not be dark. Some describe the story as a romance, but a romance is seldom as nuanced. Is it a fantasy? Is it an allegory? Is it a retelling? It does not really matter, for this is a very good story. There is little action and little romance but a bouquet of delightful imagery. I found the story evoking archetypal memories that were familiar and comforting. If you prefer a fast moving story with lots of action, this is not the book for you. I loved the images, the slow even pace, and especially the circus. I suspect this book has forever changed the way I will feel whenever I think of a circus.

    17 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim TEMECULA, CA, United States 10-25-11
    Tim TEMECULA, CA, United States 10-25-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Magically Realistic"

    This is a fascinating and unusual story. It fuses the golden age of the late 1890 with romantic magical realism …think Cirq du Soleil meets Moulin Rouge. The writing is luxurious and brilliantly evocative. I love the way the author takes time to build landscapes of the imagination. At one level you can enjoy this like a Breughel or LS Lowry painting and lose yourself in the intricately drawn and mysterious detail. At another level it’s a strange love story, or the tale of a struggle between two brilliant but flawed men.
    In narrative terms it’s not a page turner and that’s just fine. The names and locations can be a little distracting and the central plot is so obfuscated by the fabulous literary embroidery I can see why some find it too much to struggle through, the cloth is just too rich. However the beauty or execution in of its self makes the journey worthwhile.
    Whilst I hate traditional circus of clowns and lions under the big top I have always loved the dark spectacle of Cirq du Soleil. The author invites you peer through the flap in the tent or press your nose up against the store window of a Victorian toy shop and wonder at the treats inside.
    The performance by Jim Dale is very good, he’s always great value. One slight distraction is that the voices he uses for the protagonists are essentially the same as the he used for Ron and Ginny Weasley when he performed the Harry Potter books…which can be a little distracting. These are very minor complaints, barely enough to warrant the deduction of a star. This is an unusual and captivating story, beautifully told, a must listen pick.

    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kyle Seattle, WA 10-25-11
    Kyle Seattle, WA 10-25-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The hype hurt it."

    I want to be careful not to be too hard on this book. It was a good book. It had magical moments. I think it would have fare much better without the hype. With this book being pushed right and left, I expected an ending that truly sparkled. The ending was FINE, but I had hoped for more.

    I would recommend listening to this book, but I would strongly suggest letting it be just a book as if you had never heard anything about it. If you're willing to just be entertained and enjoy the circus, you will likely be happy.

    33 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    deedeeg gilbert, AZ, United States 10-14-11
    deedeeg gilbert, AZ, United States 10-14-11 Member Since 2014

    deedeeg

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just "OK""

    I'm not sure I understand the rave review on The Night Circus. I thought it was just OK. The performance is above average, but this is another story that moves along slowly consistently throughout the entire tale without much excitement.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn United States 10-12-11
    Carolyn United States 10-12-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Couldn't even finish"

    There are too many long descriptions and not enough story. I waited through almost the entire first half for something to happen but then I gave up. Between bouncing back and forth between the time periods and a lack of character development, I just got bored. I wish I'd saved my credit.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angela Eloy, AZ, United States 10-09-11
    Angela Eloy, AZ, United States 10-09-11 Member Since 2014
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    "Shell Game"
    Would you try another book from Erin Morgenstern and/or Jim Dale?

    Jim Dale Yes
    Erin M No


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The creation of the performers of the nite circus, Didn't care for the love story


    Have you listened to any of Jim Dale???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, fantastic as usual


    Could you see The Night Circus being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Nothing I would watch


    Any additional comments?

    I could see this book appealing to romantic readers, which I guess makes me not one

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer ringgold, ga, United States 10-06-11
    Kindle Customer ringgold, ga, United States 10-06-11 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "style vs. substance"

    after all the initial hype and stellar reviews, i was really looking forward to enjoying this book! however, with the exception of the author's vivid and intriguing (initially) descriptions of the circus, this story was abysmal! the plot was flimsy and the characters were awkwardly developed which made the descriptions more tedious as i waited for something (anything) to happen. it was an excruciating exercise in futility!

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 10-23-11
    Mark Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 10-23-11 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sadly Overrated"

    The advance hype drowned out the experience. It was weak story with little character developoment. It turned out to be just an average book read by a brilliant narrator.

    22 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Long Beach, CA, United States 09-22-11
    Gary Long Beach, CA, United States 09-22-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
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    "Spellbound"

    a page-turner, fascinating, as if I myself linger to each one of its tents 'til the strike of dawn and, Jim Dale is impeccable!

    22 of 27 people found this review helpful
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