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Book 49: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Book 49: The Night Circus.
Author: Erin Morgenstern, 2011.
Genre: Historical Fantasy. Magical Realism. Tarot. Circus.
Other Details: Hardback. 387 pages and Unabridged Audio (13 hrs, 42 mins). Read by Jim Dale.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called 'Le Cirque des Rêves', and it is only open at night. - from the author's website.

I first read this novel two years ago 2012 Book 15 and when it was selected for my library reading group this month it seemed a good opportunity to read it again. At first I decided I would listen to its audio edition though very early on I found I was enjoying it so much that I brought out my print copy and over the course of a week both read and listened to the novel.

The story of two young magicians trained from childhood to take part in a challenge by their respective mentors was even richer the second time around. Knowing the story and its outcome gave me the opportunity to savour the richness of the prose and pick up on nuances that I had missed the first time around.

The audio experience was also a pleasure though I am not sure that Jim Dale was the right narrator for this novel despite loving his work on the US audio editions of the Harry Potter series. I felt that he was a little too much the comedian and some of the broad accents he used, especially for the twins, detracted from the seriousness of the narrative for me.

As expected at the reading group meeting there was a strong division between those who loved the book and those who didn't fancy it at all or were critical of the style. It remains one of my favourite novels though I know it is not everyone's cup of tea.
Tags: audio book, historical fiction, magic, magical realism, period fiction (20th century), tarot
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