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My recent inability to stick with a book for more than a chapter or two has been cured thanks to The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  It was the first sentence of chapter one that got me:

“The man billed as Prospero the Enchanter recieves a fair amount of correspondence via the theater office, but this is the first envelope addressed to him that contains a suicide note, and it is also the first to arrive carefully pinned to the coat of a five-year-old girl.”

Wow.  How fabulous and mysterious and disturbing all at once.  The novel could be called genre fiction (fantasy), which some of my English major classmates would turn their noses up at, but I find it delightful and quite literary.  The writing is excellent and the descriptions are vivid and artfully done.  The story centers around the Night Circus, a mysterious carnival of oddities and wonders that only performs duirng the night and comes and goes without warning.  I have always been fascinated by the darker aspects of the circus and carnivals – the “freaks”, the nomadic lifestyle, the mysterious things that go on behind the scenes. 

Circus in Pécs

Circus in Pécs (Photo credit: antaldaniel)

This novel delivers on all counts with an eccentric proprietor, illusionists who have secrets and alterior motives, a contortionist who appears with no invitation or warning…

It is dark, suspenceful, lavish, and cloaked in mystery.  If I were not otherwise occupied by a family emergency, I would hide away somewhere and read it straight through.