This past Monday was Bupper Club and it was probably one of my most favorite books to discuss yet! It was my turn to host and I decided on The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Needless to say, it was the most perfect fall book. The story is based around a circus and the characters are constantly dining on caramel apples and apple cider, with Halloween next week, and a chill in the air, I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried! I love to run with a good theme and it was fun to try to “recreate” touches of the circus within our living room.
“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.” The story follows two illusionists that are bound together in a contest that will span their lives or until someone wins. Marco and Celia have no idea how one wins or what they have to do to win and despite themselves they fall in love. The novel is constantly changing perspective and you begin to learn the ins and outs of all of the different characters within the circus, which only makes you more fascinated by it. Mogenstern is so descriptive that there are moments in the book where you feel like you’re truly at the circus and can even smell the caramel in the air. Simply put – the book is magical. You become so wrapped up in this world that it’s hard to put down and you’re a little sad when it’s over.
You could only be in the group photo if you dressed like a reveur!
[ the MEAL ]
This book made the meal quite easy. The author described so many treats that I had to pick and choose which ones to make or we all would’ve passed out of a sugar coma. I served spinach and artichoke dip, beer queso, boiled peanuts, and bacon bourbon popcorn as my “salty” foods. The book didn’t discuss many salty foods so I just chose things that went well with my circus theme. For dessert I made caramel apples, chocolate mice, and apple cider. I’ll be sharing recipes in foodie posts coming up!
[ discussion QUESTIONS for The Night Circus ]
The book had lots of discussion questions at the end and I selected a few favorites to talk about.
1. The novel frequently changes narrative perspective. How does this transition shape your reading of the novel and your connection to the characters and the circus?
2. Chandresh is portrayed as a brilliant and creative perfectionist at the beginning of the novel, yet he slowly unravels as the competition matures. Is Chandresh merely a puppet of the competition- solely used for his ability to provide a venue for the competition- or do his contributions run deeper?
3. Marco asserts that Alexander is a father figure to him (though his paternal instincts aren’t readily noticeable). In what ways does Alexander provide for Marco and in what ways has he failed him?
4. From the outside, the circus is full of enchantments and delights, but behind the scenes, the delicate push and pull of the competition results in some sinister events. How much is the competition at fault for these losses and how much is it the individual’s doing?
5. How do you view the morality of the circus in regards to the performers and developers being unknowing pawns in Celia and Marco’s competition? Do Celia and Marco owe an explanation to their peers about their unwitting involvement?
6. What role do the reveurs play in keeping the spirit of the circus alive outside the confines of the circus tents?
7. Poppet and Widget are especially affected by the lighting of the bonfire. How crucial are their “specialties” to the ongoing success of the circus?
8. Isobel is a silent, yet integral, partner in both the circus and the competition. She has an ally in Tsukiko, but seemingly no one else, especially not Marco. How much does Marco’s underestimation of Isobel affect the outcome of the competition?
9. At the closing of the novel, we are left to believe that the circus is still traveling- Bailey’s business card provides an e-mail address as his contact information. How do you think the circus would fare over time? Would the circus need to evolve to suit each generation or is it distinctive enough to transcend time?