Post by Mark T. Locker.
Ever since J.K. Rowling introduced the world to Harry Potter, adults have been regularly usurping children’s and young adult literature for their own enjoyment, especially the bottomless pit of fantasy and sci-fi fiction series. Well, once in a while a book comes along for adults which will satisfy the puerile thirst for magic and escape from the realm of the ordinary, and you get to do so under the guise of proper grown-up literature and look all fancy on the bus. (The spine label even reads “Fiction” not “Horror” or “Romance”!)
The most recent of these that I have come across is Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel, The Night Circus. It is, as you may guess, about a nocturnal circus, but it is also about so much more. It’s about rival magicians raising children to compete against each other in the showdown to end all showdowns. It’s about really cool clocks. And contortionists and twins with strange powers.
Set in the late nineteenth century, it is reminiscent of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, which is about Victorian gentlemanly English magicians. But it is also very much its own novel. It revolves around the worlds of a strange circus, and those within it and those outside it. It’s lovely to read, and gives you great stuff for dreams.