Friday, 18 November 2011

The Night Circus vs NaNoWriMo

I read 'The Night Circus' by Erin Morgenstern recently. It's such a beautifully produced book that, despite all the hype, I decided to give it a go. I've often fallen prey to pretty covers and lots of marketing and have, for the most part, been horribly disappointed with what I've read so I tend to stay away from these types of book.

BUT, I really enjoyed 'The Night Cicus'. And, as an aside, 'The Sisters Brothers' could also have gone the same way but is, so far, my favourite read of this year. Anyway, back to 'The Night Circus'. 

Erin Morgenstern has created a world that I suspect everyone secretly longs to be a part of. If I only had half, no, a quarter of her imagination I would be immensely happy. The circus tents alone hold more creativity than I could ever dream of - luckily, I'm not a magic realism writer. The Ice Garden, the Cloud Maze, the Tree of Wishes - they are all beautifully described. How I wish I could bounce about in the cloud maze or wander through an enchanting garden made entirely  of ice. Morgenstern describes things so vividly you can practically taste the caramel popcorn and feel the sumptuous fabrics of Celia's dresses. 

However, although the circus itself is wonderfully brought to life by Morgenstern's lavish and evocative descriptions, her characters are somewhat flat. For me. I didn't really engage with any of the characters and that is usually a problem for me. I like to be able to relate to the characters in some way, travel with them on their emotional journey, care about what happens to them. I suppose I am a character driven reader and writer. 

Having said that, it really didn't matter that the human characters lacked any spark because, in my opinion, the circus was the main character and I was absolutely engaged with this wondrous and strange world! On the one hand, I wanted to go to a circus straight away and, on the other, I didn't dare go because I knew I would be incredibly disappointed. I also know that I would definitely have been one of the circus groupies, aka the reveurs, if the circus was real. What can I say, I'm an obsessive type of person. Plus I like to wear black and could totally deal with just a little flash of red as an accessory. Aside - I normally don't wear anything brighter than navy blue but I have just bought a bright red Cath Kidston dress, which my amazingly talented Grandma is fixing so it's a bit more on trend. I'll probably wear it once. Maybe twice. But it will look really good in my wardrobe amongst all the black, grey, navy blue and dark green.

I've gotta say, I was utterly captivated by the world Morgenstern has created and I think this is a really unique novel and an extraordinary debut. I look forward to reading Morgenstern's second novel, soon please!

Oops - just realised this was supposed to be about NaNoWriMo too... I am really pleased with my progress in the last couple of days. Although I am not quite caught up, okay, nowhere near caught up, I have made significant inroads and am now over 10,000 words in. Yay! 

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