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Rowena's Reviews

My true loves: Wilkie Collins, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anais Nin, George Eliot, James Joyce, James Baldwin, George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, bell hooks, Chinua Achebe, Langston Hughes, William Shakespeare... I'm falling for : Italo Calvino, Toni Morrison, Frantz Fanon, Wole Soyinka, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Albert Camus, Margaret Atwood, Somerset Maugham, Junot Diaz, A.S. Byatt... And the lists continue to grow! I will read almost anything, as long as it's well-written. I always love to expand my reading horizons.

Currently reading

Edward W. Said
Infinite Jest
David Foster Wallace
Finnegans Wake (Trade Paperback)
James Joyce
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern 4.5 stars

I think I read The Night Circus at the perfect time; it was a welcome break from all the heavy stuff I've been reading recently. Just a nice, entertaining story I could enjoy without having to think too much.

Morgenstein really sucked me into her world of magic and mystery. The story definitely had an interesting premise: two magicians, Prospero and Mr. A.H. organize a dark contest in which Marco and Celia are pawns and don't fully know what's going on. However, love complicates matters.

What I liked most of all were Morgenstein's vivid descriptions. I think her writing is very evocative; I really felt as though I was there, in Victorian London and elsewhere visiting a travelling circus that is only open at night:

“In this tent, suspended high above you, there are people. Acrobats, trapeze artists, aerialists. Illuminated by dozens of round glowing lamps hanging from the top of the tent like planets or stars.”

The book has an ethereal feel about it. Everybody has a secret.

“Secrets have power and that power diminishes when they are shared, so they are best kept and kept well. Sharing secrets, real secrets, important ones, with even one other person, will change them. Writing them down is worse, because who can tell how many eyes might see them inscribed on paper, no matter how careful you might be with it. So it’s really best to keep your secrets when you have them, for their own good as well as yours.”

The criticisms I’ve come across for this book have mainly been about character development and the lack of plot. For me, I felt that the characters fit in with the airiness of the story. As far as plot goes, I did feel that the first half of the book was a lot stronger than the second half but I still enjoyed it overall.