Oh my goodness, I just read a book that has me breathless and oh so eager to create - The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It's set in the late 19th and early 20th centuries so think of beautiful costumes - bowler hats, walking sticks, long corseted gowns, feather plumed dainty hats - now set this in cities such as London, New York, Basel and finally the playing field is a circus. Oh, but this isn't any ordinary circus, no, this is one that opens at night and closes at dawn. Everything about the circus is black, white, or shades of grey, no colors at all, and the most amazing acts are performed in individual tents. But wait, everything is a bit dreamy, magical and not quite as it seems. For in reality, this night circus, le Cirque des Rêves, is actually the backdrop for a contest between two magicians who have been groomed and tutored from childhood for this duel, everyone else is merely a pawn in the game. But then a marvelous thing happens, the combatants fall in love and that my friends, changes everything.
This is definitely a book up my alley, for it has the magic fantasy and beautiful imagery. Wouldn't you like to attend a circus and meander the circular paths of black and white to sample shows in individual black/white striped tents? Every act is interactive with the attendees, whether by having the shows performed in the round sans a stage, or by directly engaging them with rides or the like.
Half way through the book I almost wanted to take a break to savor what I had read so far, to keep the images dancing in my mind, but I couldn't do it. Instead I galloped through the rest of the story. I couldn't sleep last night because I kept imaging what fun it would be to make a series of dolls inspired by the story... all black and white with grey and perhaps a hint of red here and there. An accent of the color red is how the fans of the circus, the rêveurs, tell each other apart from the performers - a red tie, red rose in the lapel, or a red scarf.
Oh yes, I highly recommend reading The Night Circus. I'll probably wait a bit and then read it again a bit more slowly, perhaps with a sketchbook at hand for any inspirations that may come my way.
"The circus is coming..."
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