First off, our July book: It was a resounding win for Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, a twisting, turning, zooming-up-the-charts thriller. You’ll hear a little more about it when our July discussion leader, RS.com Business Development Associate Emily Schroeder, introduces herself a bit later this week and sets up the reading schedule. (Emily and her family moved just this weekend and they are unpacking boxes at their new home as I type this, so she’s really a trouper to lead this month!)
And more good news: Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus, has sent answers to our questions about the book (the paperback is out from Anchor Books on July 3; you’re getting a preview of the jacket). See what she has to say about love, magical circus tents, and the meaning of metaphors. (And a final note: If you have any last questions for Jane Borden, author of I Totally Meant to Do That, just post them below by EOD this Wednesday, June 27.)
From reader Vanessa Santiago: I would like to know if Ms. Morgenstern plans on writing other stories related to previous duels, Tsukiko’s in particular, or the origin story of the duel that is discussed by Alexander at the end of the book.
I always say no immediately to the sequel question but the prequel aspect is a different story. I’m not opposed to telling Tsukiko’s story or other backstories but I’m not certain I’d do it in novel form. I’ve been mulling the idea of doing a collection of shorter pieces including backstories and sidestories and maybe a few peeks at futurestories but for the moment I’m working on a completely different novel, so if I do get to more tales from the circus someday it will take a while.
From reader Sarah Wire Kauffman: Will Bailey now be under the “spell” of the powerful magicians/illusionists never to escape? The biggest question for me: Is love a circus? How did the author come to use the metaphor of a circus? Does she read tarot cards? I loved the book and am looking forward to a Night Circus interpretive performance promised by our local aerial dance group.
I think Bailey’s fate is up to interpretation, is he trapped if he chose to be trapped? And I don’t know how much time would change his feelings on the matter. Maybe someday he’ll tell me.
I think “is love a circus?” is a wonderful question but I’m not certain I have a good answer, myself. I think love can feel circus-like at times, though I think it would depend on the type of circus. I actually started with the circus before all the love got entangled in it, so it wasn’t an intentional metaphor but sometimes the best metaphors are unintentional ones.
I do read tarot cards but I’m not particularly good at it. I see too many options and possibilities, though occasional combinations can be clear. Maybe I’m just an inconsistent reader. I do love tarot decks, though, I’m not quite a collector but there are so many beautiful decks with amazing artwork that I’ve accumulated at least a dozen.
From deputy editor Maura K. Fritz: “Love is an illusion” seems to be the idea that permeates the book, but late in the book Tsukiko admits to Celia that she was lying when she said that love is fickle and fleeting. I’m curious what the author really thinks about love, especially when Marco and Celia end the book in a limbo state, though at least together: Is this what Tsukiko would see as the consequence of a foolish love? And was the story of Merlin meant as much for Bailey as it was for Marco?
I’m curious what I really think about love, too. I don’t think I’ve figured much out about it, but I don’t think it’s fickle or fleeting though it can feel illusory and insubstantial. It’s hard to weigh feelings of any sort, to put them into shapes and understand them, especially when they are often unpredictable. I think with the ending of the book there’s a little bit of a spin on the “love conquers all” idea, more that love survives the consequences.
I do think that the Merlin story correlates on several levels, including Bailey as much as Marco. I think it resonates a bit in Hector’s storyline as well. I actually had Widget telling that story in a very early draft before any of the appropriate plot elements were developed, and it ended up being the perfect theme to return to.
From discussion leader Brigitt Hauck: Does the author have a favorite circus tent?
It is difficult to pick a favorite tent but mine is the Labyrinth, for two reasons. Mostly because it is the space I think I would most like to explore myself were it a real location, never knowing what dreamlike scene might wait behind the next door, and also because of the role it ended up playing in the story. I created most of the tents before the plot developed and I needed to divide tents between Celia and Marco, and it seemed to be the perfect one to be the collaboration. I love it more now because of that.