Thursday, 8 September 2011

Waiting on ... Thursday? The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

North American cover
I don't have much patience for blogging traditions (also I clearly didn't pay enough attention to the date yesterday and I don't want to wait until next Wednesday...), so I'm going to tell you about a book I am anticipating today.

Lots of far more accomplished bloggers do "Waiting on Wednesday"s, but I thought I'd do one now and then so that you too can slaver over books that look fabulous but unfortunately haven't been released yet.

A lot of people have blogged about this first book, The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, but it looks awesome and I think it will be one of the first books I buy at Blackwell's in Broad Street when we get to Oxford, in part because we arrive in Oxford on the 14th and the book comes out on the 15th.  Perfect timing!

Here is the publisher's blurb:
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 RĂªves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

UK cover
Doesn't that sound marvellously delicious?  And it's getting starred reviews all over the place (even from Kirkus, which is especially notable).  Also, author blurbs, including Audrey Niffenegger and Tea Obrecht, the recent - and very young - debut novelist and winner of this year's Orange Prize for The Tiger's Wife (another book I'd like to read).

The Wall Street Journal did a story on Erin Morgenstern in which it claimed that The Night Circus could be the publishing world's next Harry Potter (which everyone knows is an easy descriptor for a hoped-for publishing phenomenon, but is an incredibly unlikely prospect).  It also outlined the crazy amounts of publicity the book has been getting: the film rights have been sold to Summit, which did the Twilight movies and the production company is directly marketing the book to those fans; there are going to be midnight lauches with circus performers in major cities.  It all seems a little over the top, since, really, this author is still an unknown quantity.  I suppose this may make good business sense, but I'd far rather just read the book and see.

Other interesting reading:
  • A very recent interview of Erin Morgenstern with The Guardian's Alison Flood.
  • Erin Morgenstern's quite interesting blog, complete with pictures of cats!
I am thoroughly looking forward to picking this book up on the 15th!

P.S.  One of the chief reasons this book with likely not be the next Harry Potter is that, despite its subject matter, it is not in fact a YA novel.  It is an adult title and will be shelved with adult books.  For the sake of marketing, which is what the YA label often comes down to these days, its almost surprising that a title with such cross-over potential (see direct marketing to Twilight fans) wasn't published as a YA, which would allow it to be shelved in both locations, either in two different editions, or not.  You can really push the YA genre today, even if the book had supposedly "adult" content.  Or, perhaps it won't matter, and teens will gobble it up just as they do other adult market titles.  Interesting, in any case, as a book and a publishing phenomenon.

(The other reason this book probably won't be Harry Potter is that it is a stand-alone title.  I find this slightly refreshing.)

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