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Reader’s Den

Reader's Den: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Week 2

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The Night Circus is crafted in lyrical and elaborate prose. Sometimes it even borders on the ornamental. The language and descriptions are fitting, however, considering the overriding theme of time's passage in the book.

If there is one thing the circus exemplifies, it is clockwork precision. The entertainments may be strange and off-kilter, but they all work together in a harmonious whole.

On its opening night twelve fires of varying hues are lit, one for each chime of Thiessen's clock. It is also no coincidence that the clock is the centerpiece of the circus. How do you think the theme of time passing plays out in this novel? How do the characters relate to it?

For example Marco's magic seems much more formal and rigid in its execution than Celia's, more mechanical and precise like clockwork, restraining magic's innate unpredictability in its confines. Celia's magic seems to spin out from the rigidity at intervals, showing the enticing possibilities that are only apparent with time's passage.

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