I read an outstanding book this week. I know already that it will be on my list of favorite books read in 2012. This is Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel The Night Circus, a beautifully crafted novel with magically wondrous imagery.
The actual plot of the story is a little disturbing. Five-year old Celia arrives at the circus to meet her father Prospero the Enchanter after her mother commits suicide. After seeing her spectacular gifts in illusion he calls his friend Hector Bowen to stage a mysterious contest using her and someone of his choosing. After selecting a boy seemingly at random from the orphanage, Hector raises him solely to be part of this contest with Celia. The two illusionists learn that their only role in life is to be a pawn for the two men and must proceed without knowing the rules or when the game will end. Little do they know that the contest is over when one of them is dead.
The venue for the contest is The Night Circus, the extraordinary brainchild of Chandresh Christophe Lefevre and the two eventually become aware of the other’s identity. But what are two illusionists to do when they are in love and yet pitted against each other for the greatest stakes?
I so wanted to visit the Night Circus with its series of black and white tents, each holding a single event. Each tent is more fantastic than the last. Unbeknownst to Chandresh the two illusionists are creating additional tents with increasingly wondrous sights and experiences.
The abuse the two children experienced at the hands of their fathers was quite disturbing, Celia with physical and Marco with psychological. They were trapped for the whole of their lives to these two monsters. Yet, despite it all, they managed to create something beautiful and love each other. It’s an uplifting story and I heartily recommend it.
It’s almost anticlimactic to talk about Silent Partner by Jonathon Kellerman. It’s a formulaic crime drama with a child psychologist as the investigator. Kellerman has been writing them for years but somehow I didn’t read this one from the 1980’s. His older ones are much, much better and I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It’s about two twins, the good and the bad, but because of their secrecy, it gets tangled up and it’s hard to know what is true or not. Of course there is the twist at the end that I wasn’t expecting and it all came together for one of those guilty pleasure type dramas.