Friday, November 11, 2011

After Hogwarts, Find Magic at the Circus

I grew up with Harry Potter: book one in third grade, followed by agonizing waits and joyous reunions every few years, until plowing through book seven without pause or sleep. I've read many fun books in lots of genres since reading who kissed who, which wizards died, and (spoiler alert) how good managed win in the end. Still, there's a soft spot in my heart for whimsical magic spun in a fantastical world that Erin Morgenstern's debut novel, "The Night Circus" satisfied like few works before it.

Morgenstern's realm contains less lore and law than Rowling's wizarding world, but the locations she crafts have as much life and depth as any hall in Hogwarts. Never simple or easy, Morgenstern weaves the story of an extraordinary circus in the vein of Cirque du Soleil without the laws of physics. Two magicians, bound in a competition they didn't choose and don't fully understand, each vie to outdo the gorgeous creations of the other as hundreds of characters get swept up in a duel of magic and emotion.

I first heard of the book through NPR, where comparisons to Rowling flew thick and fast. I didn't fall over myself to find a copy, but I did care enough to add it to my book list. After listening to the audiobook over the past two days, I'm sold. Morgenstern's choice to set events at the turn of the twentieth century tickles readers with a kind of dusty fantasy that doesn't easily exist in a world of iPads and airplanes. Relationships and romances hit all the right, complicated notes, the magic isn't scientifically explained because you'll want to believe.

I invite you to take a look at "The Night Circus," or if you're a listener, then you'll get to hear Jim Dale back in magic for the first time since Platform 93/4.

No comments:

Post a Comment