The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

by Gwen

The Night Circus

Repeat after me, “Gwen does not appreciate literary fiction.” The word “appreciate” is such a great one to use in this case. Sounds much better than, “Gwen hates literary fiction.”

Gwen also struggled with the correct way to punctuate the above and most likely, failed.

However, I was sucked in by the beautiful cover and the crazy-good buzz that The Night Circus was garnering. Almost as quickly as I was sucked in, I was spit back out by the preponderance of superfluous words. For me, that is the definition of literary fiction. Why describe say, the color blue as baby blue, when you can do it so much better by saying that the blue was light, reminiscent of the sky just before dusk over the hills of Tuscany and reminds you of the blanket your aunt gave your baby brother that he took on the Aegean sea vacation you took with your parents when you were six and he was three.
Too many words. Yes, they are beautiful. Yes, I am sure that they took a lot of time to come up with. No, I was not on that ocean trip with you, when you were six and your brother was three, so really I have no idea what color you are describing. If you had just said baby blue, I would have been with you instead of on that three hour tour with Gilligan.

So, in the spirit of literary fiction, as paid homage to above, here are my thoughts on The Night Circus.

It took me a long time to get into it. Once I knuckled down and stopped muttering at the descriptions of everything, I enjoyed the story. Then the ending let me down. If you enjoy flowery writing and find yourself easily lost in fantastical stories, this is totally the right book for you.

Am I pissed off that I read it? Heck no, I was able to finish it, so it wasn’t even close to the top ten worst books that I have read this year. There were some very poignant and thought-provoking moments.  It was also another lesson in learning that sometimes the most buzz-worthy books aren’t for me and once again, “Gwen does not like literary fiction.”

Countless times, countless I tell you, I pick up literary fiction and think, this is the one, this one will be different. What is the definition of insanity again?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (September 13, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0385534639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385534635
  • 17 Comments to “The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern”

    1. I love your honest review Gwen, it made me laugh too:)

    2. Glad that I made you laugh, that was what I was going for:)

    3. LOL!! I love the end of this post. I am definitely going to have to give this book a try. Though you don’t like literary fiction, I would have felt flat with a simple “baby blue” description. 😉 Thanks for the review love!!

    4. Enjoyed this post! Tho I wonder if it’s just “flowery” descriptions you don’t like versus literary fiction, cuz there’s plenty of literary fiction that’s not flowery. Like, um….um…oh yeah, Hemingway!  And what about Frazer? Oh wait…;-)

    5. Okay, so maybe I wasn’t being fair. There could have been a more descriptive way to say baby blue:)

    6. Funny that you should mention Hemingway, not much of a fan of him either. On the other hand, I did read another one that is also considered “literary fiction” that I adored. The review is coming up later this week for Rules of Civility: A Novel by Amor Towles. 

    7. What you’re doing with those literary fiction books is the same thing I do with Woody Allen movies.  Every time I think that MAYBE the next one won’t make me feel like an idiot, but they always do.

    8. Well at least it’s not in the top 10 of bad! I have it sitting right here next to me…I’m looking forward to diving in this weekend.

    9. Loved your review, Gwen! 🙂 Much as I love literary fiction, I don’t feel an deluge of words is necessary to describe something. So you aren’t alone in thinking that! 

    10. I am so with you on Woody Allen! One or two lines from a Woody Allen movie is funny; two hours with the movie and I feel like I wasted my time and wonder what I am missing that everyone else seems to get.

    11. Deluge is the perfect word. One glass of water is good, but a whole gallon at once? Not so good.

    12. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

    13. “Repeat after me, Gwen does not like literary fiction.”

      You are cracking me up. I have read so many good reviews for this book, but not everyone can like the same thing. Good on you for trying something different. 🙂


    14. Ha! You’re so right about the descriptions in literary fiction. Though I’m a huge fan of the genre and enjoy getting swept up in sentences like the “baby blue” one you described, it can definitely be too much sometimes. Still, I’m looking forward to reading this one! The buzz has been off the charts.

    15. I think that I can safely say that you will love this one Meg. In fact, I thought of you when I read it. Now don’t go thinking that I think of you at random odd moments all of the time;)

    16. The reviews are really good and I agree with them. The few that I have read that aren’t so good are from people like me that just don’t get into this type in general. I am cool with that and it is fun to read a hugely buzz worthy book once in a while. (okay, maybe more than once in a while)

    17. Awww!  Don’t give up on literary fiction yet.  You just have to find the right book.  It will come along.

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