How can you describe perfection? Or—more to the point—how can you describe a fantasy so firmly rooted in reality that it feels real? Because that is the very definition of The Night Circus. Morgenstern has created a darkly delightful mystical universe which sits alongside our own, drawing us in. There is a quotation, which I think describes this universe perfectly: in a world filled with mirth and magic, you lose time within yourself. Here, certainly, it is true. The interludes were particularly timeless, and I lost myself to the Cirque des Rêves, and to the world which it inhabits. The world which Morgenstern describes in intrinsically magical, and in a way that it seems that it could be real. There are some books which break your heart inside your chest, purely because they create the illusion of perfection. I’m not fool enough to claim that this is a perfect book—it has faults I know; flaws which create a more realistic experience. There is no such thing as the perfect book, because books are the creations of humanity, and perfection is impossible to achieve, but this book comes pretty close. The illusion which it creates, of a world which exists beneath our own, in theatres and circuses, of contortionists and fortune readers, is one which envelopes you completely, and which kills you to know that it is simply that: an illusion. The hardest thing for me was knowing what the characters did not know, and knowing that the end was nigh. Because it is. There is no place in the modern world for the wonders of this circus. Enamoured with technology and genius, it is too easy to overlook the subtleties which create meaning; the subtleties which Morgenstern has used with startling coherency to create this dark and entirely wonderful world which I fell in love with. I think that it is bad taste to liken books to other books I reviews, but I can’t really help myself. It reminded me of Alice in Wonderland. It has that same mixture of the impossible and the logical which creates a conundrum where you know that it makes no sense, and yet it makes perfect sense to you. There was no Mad Hatter or March Hare; there was no Red Queen or White Rabbit, but it had the same feel to it. Impossibility doesn’t have to be impossible. Sometimes the illusion is enough.
Returning to my quotation from earlier, I want to say that The Night Circus is not all darkness. There is also romance, and heartbreak, and pure, unrelenting joy. The magic is such that it is not magic if that makes any sense. It is reality and desire and hope in its purest form.