Saturday, February 4, 2012
The Night Circus- A Delightful tangent from list reading!
I named my blog magic and mystery because to me those two things describe my love all things deep and spiritual. For me, magic is real (although not the circus and slight of hand variety) and mystery is what makes life worth living. This book has both elements to it and I just ate it up. I started the book as I started a very fun adventure to visit a friend. It was a perfect book to be reading while on a journey.
There was a great quote about magic being the way the world is, "This is not magic. This is the way the world is, only very few people take the time to stop and note it"
The book finishes on one of my favorite themes. The magic of story and the healing power of of deep truths in mythology, fairy tales and old stories. I have always believed that these things contain soul level truth. The book also talks about dreams and how we should all be living to our fullest potential. Both of these themes have always filled me with such glee. I discovered quite early the joy of living for things that make you happy (not hedonistic, bachanal pleasures but the things that make you tick). The things that make you come alive, are the things you should pour your life into. There were several awesome quotes about dreamers and the idea of story
"Someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There's magic in it"
"You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose"
I have several of these stories and tales that I have read and shaped me for better or worse. Not all of them are beautiful tales, but all of them involve real life. Some on my list include: East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards, The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Doestoyevsky and some of the more recent ones including A Trip to the Stars by Nicholas Christopher and About Grace by Anthony Doerr.
I have discovered two things of late. a) that I probably should have taken more philosophy in university because I love finding things in stories that hint at the meaning behind the universe and b) that I really should have been an English major in university because of the sick pleasure I get from ripping apart a story and finding themes in it.
"The truest tales require time and familiarity to become what they are"
"He reads histories and mythologies and fairy tales , wondering why it seems that only girls are ever swept away from their mundane lives"
"There are no longer simple tales with quests and beasts and happy endings. The quests lack clarity of goal or path"
There was a lot about dreams and the story of Bailey who is a young boy who stumbles upon the circus is particularly heart warming as he discovers what it is he wants to live for. I love dreams. I would love eventually to do something that would help others discover that in themselves. But what job is that? Career counsellor? That's a piece of it, but so much more I am sure...
"A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees dawn before the rest of the world ~Oscar Wilde
The circus in the story was called "Circus of Dreams" in French. I thought it a most appropriate name given that the majority of the circus was someones imagination made reality.
"But you built me dreams instead"
"Follow your dreams, Bailey...no matter what that father of yorus says, or how loudly he might say it. He forgets that he was someone else's dream once, himself"
"The Bailey he is now is closer to the Bailey he is supposed to be than the Bailey he had been the day before"
I guess that is all I will say about dreams and magic but I'll end this review with a description of some of the most beautiful things in the circus. A room filled with snow, a garden made of ice, a room with bottled scents, feelings and emotions, "unusually talented kittens" that jump through hoops, a star gazing room, and a circus that appears suddenly in town without warning, is only open at night, dressed in black and white, peopled with victorian era ball gowns and dapper suits and fronted by a huge clock that has a multitude of beautiful moving parts. It is singularly the most beautiful thing I have ever heard of.
I'll leave you with one last quote to ponder. It tickled me pink and left me giggling to myself uncontrollably!
"...Not as one smiles at a random member of the audience when one is in the middle of performing circus tricks with unusually talented kittesn but in the way that one smiles when one recognizes someone..."