Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Night Circus: Where dreams come to life

"The circus comes without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

The opening lines of this magnificent book "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern had held me captive right till the end. It is not everyday that you come by a book which is steeped in fantasy and carefully balanced with reality. The opening chapters may seem a little befuddling but it is only a matter of time when the reader is drawn helplessly into the fantastic world of Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair. And then there is this circus, this beautifully scripted enchanting circus- where everything is possible, where the tricks never fail to confound the spectators, where magic meets scientific logic...The Circus...Le Cirque des Rêves ...where dreams come true.

The outline is simple. Two great schools of illusionists put up their players against one another. The contenders haven't seen each other. They are educated, groomed and raised to fight each other in a venue. The Circus. But there has to be a victor. There is no time allotted for the completion of the challenge. Who'll be this last person standing? Or is the challenge not as simple as it seems to be?....

 Well, at the very onset of this blog I would like to declare that this isn't any book review. I am terrible at reviewing books. The excitement and thrill that I experienced while reading this book cannot be aptly put in words. It just opened up a whole different world to me.It also sort of reminded me of my memories of circus as a child. When I was young, a circus was synonymous with joy and a day off with friends and family. And popcorn. Those days popcorn wasn't easily available in our locality. I remember holding onto my Grandpa's fingers and walking with little steps to a large tent which smelt funny.  It smelt of sweat and dirt and animal poop. But the odor was exhumed by the loud gasps of spectators at  the sight of men walking on tight ropes ten feet above the ground, the trapeze artists where young girls and boys flung each other off like a ball, the fire-eaters, the clowns who were either too large or a dwarf, the lions and tigers jumping into the loops, the monkeys cycling across the stage. Yes, it was fascinating. And there was always popcorn and cotton-candy to hold on my interest.

But today in the year 2013 I don't come across that kind of circus at all. In fact, a circus rarely comes to our town. People have lost their taste for it as every extraordinary feat can be digitally mastered. Why waste time watching cheap theatrics? There are no takers for that unusual talent. And the idea of a live-show now remains buried ten feet into the ground till there is some 'scoop' involved.Here is where I loved the book. The book recreates a circus which is not caught in the web of the sameness of tricks. It creates something different each time you visit it. It doesn't take place in a large tent but several tents are set up in a large piece of land. It is like a maze and one cannot be to sure to have seen the whole of it, as there is no one to assure you of the same at the exit.The description of the circus was similar to Life. Life is a circus and at every corner we come across something new, something exciting, something that may startle and astonish us and probably even exact a a little gasp of disbelief. But nevertheless, we carry on and at the end when it is time to make our Exit, we don't fully realize if we've seen the all of it, if we fully comprehend the whole of it. The enigma mystifies our senses. That is why we hold on to our lives. Not because we love it, but because we love to explore its hidden possibilities.  

The rest of the fiction is of course conjured by the magical realism, where you seem to take a ride on the bewitching carousel, with your hair gently blown by the soft wind smelling of caramel and an exotic essence. "The Night Circus" is simply a story of love camouflaged with layers of magic, unprecedented circumstances.It is the reality that we feel everyday, but are scared to admit. It is a celebration of words melting into sensation. It is "like stepping into a fairy tale under the curtain of stars".

This book made me fall in love with magic all over again. The love, the passion, the pain is felt by the reader each time you flip through its pages. It makes you fall in love with Circus once again, in fact you yearn for it once the book is over. It has been a week now but I have failed to get past this book. It has altered my perspective about life. "People see what they wish to see. And in most cases, what they are told that they see." It is really weird to realize that the entirety of our perception is controlled by the society. That there are things beyond our comprehension, existing by our side, unraveling their mystery right before us yet unknown to us. The idea is both exciting and frightening. Yet it makes you live your life large and go beyond the pettiness of routine and walk into the circus of whose confines one feels more real and closer to life. But then again, one must not lose the grasp over the Real for it will only drive us mad, insane, burn our insides with the pangs of curiosity.  Yet "the finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones" and I hope to dream on, live on and await the arrival of The Night Circus. 

Will you?

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