Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: The Night Circus

"This is not magic.
This is the way the world is, only very few people take the time to stop and note it."

It took me a longer time to finish this novel than it usually takes me to finish a novel I really enjoy.  I think this is mostly due to the fact that this is a novel to be savoured, not devoured.

I first picked it up despite many "warnings" of its intensive imagery, lengthy descriptions, and slow-moving story. I'm still not sure why I ignored such warnings, but I am glad I did.

The imagery is, indeed, intense. The description every bit as long as I had been warned. The story did, in fact, crawl along. However, it didn't read like trudging through quick sand-- struggling to put one foot in front of another to tell some kind of disjointed story. Instead, it slowly drifted through time, from past to present and back again, in a kind of mist. So, slow-moving as it was, it remained graceful and quite mystical in a way that is very captivating.

You become part of the fantastical circus that is so enchanted it is unbelievable, and yet, I found myself longing to believe in it.  What some might call unnecessarily long descriptions of mere trivial circus nonsense, I came to understand as crucial battle scenes and eventually love letters between the two seemingly star-crossed magicians.

The novel is romantic and exciting in an understated way. It left me wanting to believe in magic, and possibly hopeful of seeing magic in some things I've never examined closely enough before to see it.

Recommendation: Avid readers and lovers of the magical, fantastical, and romantical should enjoy this book. Though I should stress the importance of being a patient reader, one who is okay with the absence of jarring action, and capable of keeping track of small fluctuations in time. If you can do and be all of that, you'll read a book that is quite actually a little spellbinding.

Up Next: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
I ran into Chapters looking to pick up a resource for school, and ran out looking to finish The Night Circus so I could move onto the next gem I stumbled across on my shopping adventure. In January I read a novel called A Dog's Purpose, possibly the first novel I've read written from a dog's perspective since I was 10 and read The Incredible Journey. And you know what? I loved it. I hadn't realized I was looking for something else like it until I found The Art of Racing in the Rain. It's the story of Enzo, a dog owned by an up-and-coming race car driver. "On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through." Further described as "A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human only a dog could tell it." I can't see why a reader and dog-lover like myself wouldn't love this novel. Can't wait to dig in. Happy Reading!

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