The Night Circus: Parts 4 and 5

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Hi, Bookies!

Unfortunately our four short weeks together are coming to a close. But before we say goodbye, let’s indulge in a whirlwind discussion of Parts 4 and 5 of The Night Circus. I found these last chapters to be action-packed and riveting. I can’t imagine I was the only one reading mouth-wide-open at a few major revelations!

Let’s start with the most shocking, shall we? In the midst of a lengthy conversation with her father, Celia realizes that the challenge will not end until one of the competitors dies. Celia is horrified at the thought and persuades her father for more information about the last challenge. Were you shocked that Tsukiko was the victor of the last challenge? I am certain I let out a gasp! A few of you suspected that Tsukiko had a larger role in the overall story, but I was simply stunned.

Knowing what happened during the last challenge helped tie up a few loose ends, and it helped us get an interesting perspective on Celia and Marco’s love affair. As it turns out, Tsukiko felt just as connected to her partner. When her partner killed herself out of a reciprocal love, it wasn’t easy to be the victor because Tsukiko found it difficult to live without her competitor. Was Tsukiko trying to help Marco and Celia be together or was she trying to help Marco kill himself before Celia could do the same so he wouldn’t have to live without her? I couldn’t quite figure this out, but I think she was trying to do the latter and Celia intervened by jumping into Marco’s arms.

This morning, I was having a discussion about Parts 4 and 5 with one of the editors here at RS.com, and we came to the conclusion that the book seems to be less about magic and more about love. Sure, there are plenty of charms and illusions, but what ties it all together are the people and the relationships they form with one another. The book explores the mysteries of love and challenges our ideals about romance. Is love a real experience or is all about perception—an illusion, if you will?

When Isobel shows up at Marco’s flat in London she reflects on their relationship and ponders two very relatable questions. Was her relationship with Marco real or did it just feel real because she wanted it to be? And were she and Marco meant to meet or was she simply in the right place at the right time? Can you relate to these feelings of doubt and insecurity?

Even Celia had her doubts about whether or not Marco really loved her. And even though Marco and Celia were able to be together in the end, it didn’t feel like a happily ever after. Both the story about the Merlin in the tree and Widget’s conversation with Alexander made me wonder whether or not Celia and Marco are free because they are together or if they are imprisoned within the circus together. Or maybe Widget and Alexander’s differing opinions serve to show that it’s all about perception? How did you interpret the outcome of the novel?

The unwinding of Bailey’s story didn’t surprise me as much. As I suspected, reveurs helped him find the circus. I wasn’t even that surprised when he became the proprietor of the circus, though I do wonder what the future will bring for Bailey now that he is tied to the circus as much as both Celia and Marco had once been. As for Chandresh and the other founders, it was nice to see their stories wrap up and move on from the circus. It showed hope for a fresh start unencumbered by the complexity of the circus.

I’m sure I could go on for hours, but I’d really like to hear your thoughts. Plus, I’m just about bursting with the good news I have the privilege of sharing: Erin Morgenstern has agreed to answer your questions about The Night Circus! If you want to ask Ms. Morgenstern anything about her book, make sure to post your questions in the comments section below by 11:59 p.m. ET next Friday, June 1.

Thanks for reading along with me this month! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Have a wonderful long weekend!

—Brigitt

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