The circus pulls into town, sets up, and prepares for its dusk opening. Black and white only, except for red scarves worn by the reveurs who attempt to follow the circus to each new venue. No one sees it arrive though the entire town attends every night, and then it is gone with no warning. Thus begins The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s a story of dueling young magicians; one must die. It’s the Romeo and Juliet of opposing conjurer families. And it’s probably the most magical, fantastical, imaginative book I’ve read in decades. My book club selected it a few months back. Our group of nine women has moderately serious discussions but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We have fun, too, on book club night. To get us into the mood, we usually dress, dine, and decorate according to the book’s setting. This one was challenging as it takes place in Victorian England and New York: Yorkshire pudding, braised rabbit, roast lamb, platters of vegetables, plenty of wine, coffee and desserts. Twinkling tiny white lights,
strobe, circus music, white candles everywhere, black tablecloth, and everyone garbed in black and white. Most of the book’s reviews are wildly positive with a few negative ones thrown in. I chalk up the naysayers to jealousy because they don’t have the imagination to conjure up such a plot and characters! I could not put the book down (it’s kind of the way I felt about Harry Potter, too). I was compelled to find out what would happen, who would win, who would die; I didn’t want it to end. But it did, of course, and we moved on to other books in succeeding months: The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Beneath the Marble Sky, and Doc. If you want to spice up your book club meetings, dress up and/or prepare your book selection’s fare. We’ve eaten Indian, Greek, Southwestern, Southern, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Chinese, Cajun, Mexican, and so on. The hostess prepares the entrée and the rest of us bring complementary dishes and beverages. Following dinner, and only then, do we begin our discussion of the book. Try it!