** I’ve started a new Facebook-based book club! Learn more HERE.**
This month’s book is: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern!
Summary (by BN.com):
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.
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.
Discussion Questions (Warning: Spoilers Ahead!)
1. Having not read the story, what would you assume is a “night circus?” How do you feel about a circus only open at night?
2. What is your first impression of the cover design?
3. In the beginning passages, the author uses second person (the word “you”) to make you feel as though you are one of the people watching this site unfold in your own neighborhood. Do you feel as though you are really there? How is this kind of writing useful to an author/reader?
4. Based on the sudden presence of Prospero’s daughter, what kind of relationship do you think they had in the past? For what reason would he have left his daughter?
5. How do you feel about Prospero using his daughter’s abilities for his own gain?
6. Why might “Alexander” have changed his name?
7. Do you agree with Alexander that names are not as important as people might think?
8. In what way do you suppose Celia and the boy might be bound?
9. Who do you think Isobel is and what role do you think she will play in Marco’s life?
10. Do agree with what Celia and her father say about communicating with spirits? Or do you believe the dead can be contacted through mediums, etc.?
11. Between the chapters that tell the story of The Night Circus are descriptions of the circus itself, written as if you are visiting it right now. What do these chapters add to the story?
12. What role might Bailey play in the coming chapters?
13. Why does Mme. Padva refer to Chandresh’s idea as a game?
14. Celia replies that she is already married after reading the letters sent to her after her father’s death. Why does Celia believe she is married?
15. What might be the purpose of the clock made by Friedrick Thiessen?
16. What do you think of the official meeting of Celia and Marco?
17. What do you think will become of Isobel? Will she be caught in a love triangle between Marco and Celia?
18. How might the burning of Marco’s notebook effect certain people of the circus?
19. Earlier in the book, neither Celia or her father Hector believed that the living could communicate with ghosts and took advantage of people looking for closure with their dearly departed. Despite this, Hector returns as a ghost and Celia is able to see and talk to him. How might this be possible?
20. What does the disappearance of the hair bracelet mean for Isobel and Marco?
21. So far no straight answer has been given about the “game” between Celia and Marco. What do you think the game actually is? How will the winner be determined?
22. What do you think of Widget and Poppet’s new powers? Will these powers be useful later in the book?
23. What do you think of Marco’s description of the game being a balance of scales?
24. After Marco leaves the tent, Isobel pulls a card from her tarot deck showing an angel. What might this symbol mean? Who is the symbol meant for?
25. Why are Frederick Thiessen and the reveurs important to the story? Why do you think some people were so entranced by the circus that they devoted themselves to following it around?
26. Now that Celia knows who her opponent is, what do you think of their meeting in the rain compared to their first meeting back at the auditions?
27. What do you think of Bailey’s encounter with Isobel? What might happen between him and Poppet, the red-haired girl?
28. What might the red that Poppet sees represent?
29. Tara mentions that she looks in the mirror only to see a face that hasn’t aged with her. Why might she not have aged? Do you think others in the story haven’t aged, either?
30. What do you think of Tara’s unexpected death? Was this somehow foreshadowed in previous chapters?
Book Club Discussion: Describe your most memorable circus experience. Was it anything like the circus in the book?
31. While having dinner with Celia, Friedrick states, “I prefer to remain unenlightened, to better appreciate the dark.” How do you feel about this outlook on life?
32. Besides not aging, circus members are also kept from getting sick. How do you feel about this manipulation? Would you be a part of a circus where you never aged or got sick?
33. Do you think Marco’s tampering of the fire was the reason for Tara’s death? Besides the Murray twins, what other repercussions might come of this?
34. What are your thoughts on the late night meeting of Marco and Celia? Are you for or against them falling in love?
35. Why do you think Alexander doesn’t have a shadow?
36. Why might Marco have collected hair samples for his book?
37. How do you feel now knowing how Celia’s father really died? Do you think what he has done is different than that of being a ghost or spirit?
38. Poppet explains to Bailey that he is important in keeping the circus alive. After reading this, in what role now do you think Bailey might play? Will his new arrival in the circus affect the competition between Celia and Marco?
39. Two characters have now died – Tara, who had a small part in the story, and Friedrick who had a larger part of the story. Why do you think the author chose to cut these two characters from the story?
40. What do you think of Celia and Marco’s love for each other? Is it true love or is one of them playing with the other to win the game?
Book Club Discussion #2: Have you ever dreamed of a love like the kind Celia or Marco have? Do you believe in love at first sight or fairytale loves?
41. Do you think Bailey’s new role in the circus was a good choice, or do you find it unfair that he got stuck in the so-called game? If you were Bailey, would you devote your life to the circus to help Celia and Marco?
42. What do you believe truly happened to Celia and Marco? Do you think the outcome was a happy ending? What would you liked to have happen between them?
43. What do you think will happen with the circus and the people within the circus over time?
44. What was your favorite part of the circus? Which character would you most want to meet? Which tent would you most want to visit? Which food sounded most appealing?
45. Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?