This book has been getting conflicting reviews on Amazon, GoodReads, and other places where reader reviews are featured. It seems to be a love it or hate it kind of book, the kind of book where one side can't understand the other's stand on it. I begin with that because this is where I take a stand for the "five star" review side of the story. Even as I write this, I am acutely aware that I am not doing this magical book any sort of justice, nor can I. But I felt that I owed The Night Circus something.
From the first page, I knew this book was something special, and now I know it will stick with me. Yesterday, I had a conversation about A Wrinkle in Time, a classic that celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2012. The person I spoke with suggested that so many list Madeline L'Engle's tale as a childhood favorite for lack of other titles coming to mind. I argue that perhaps L'Engle simply created a world that sticks with us. Like Narnia or Hogwarts, that world is not easily forgotten because we felt transported as we turned the pages, so much so that upon closing the book that world became a memory somehow separate from the memory of the reading experience. We feel as if we lived within it. That is the world Erin Morgenstern has created in his Le Cirque des Rêves. A beautiful world of black and white, of snow and rain and piles of books, and a world fit for any person--child or adult--who dares to imagine that reality does not always look realistic.