“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.”
Last week the circus came to town! This wasn’t just any circus, this was a pre-publication party for Erin Morgenstern and her upcoming novel, The Night Circus (coming in two short weeks, on September 13, from Doubleday).
The Night Circus is magic and mystery rolled into one – it’s a story of of that fine line between reality and illusion, the thirst for superlatives, and the undeniable call of love.
Reps from RandomHouse/Doubleday had invited booksellers, press, bloggers, librarians, etc. to attend a kick-off celebration in Concord. Why Concord? Bailey, one of the main characters hails from there (here), although Le Cirque des Rêves becomes a world-wide event. When you understand how the circus appearances are scheduled, it all falls into place.
The event was held in a field at a wonderful local farm and market; striped tents full of people dressed in black and white (with a splash of red) stood in contrast to the sun setting on a field of sunflowers. Black and white striped runners atop crisp red tablecloths highlighted stacks of pre-release books. It was time for the circus to begin.
We chatted with the RandomHouse reps and caught up with other bloggers and booksellers (some of whom had driven many hours to get to Concord), then enjoyed farm-fresh food – salads, appetizers, and heavy noshes to satisfy. There were sweets to be enjoyed, and a huge vat of kettle corn, perfect for an evening at the circus.
The organizers had engaged entertainers to mingle with the guests – a fortune teller (complete with crystal ball!), mime (very gifted in balloon creations), a juggler (who was willing to teach me a trick!), and an amazing magician (who didn’t give up any of his secrets).
The biggest thrill, of course, was getting to meet the author and sharing the excitement about this upcoming title. Rather than Erin herself reading from The Night Circus, we were treated to an excerpt from the audiobook; this is read by Jim Dale, who narrates so wonderfully the Harry Potter books (but, do not be mislead — this is not Harry Potter!) Our Doubleday rep introduced the editor of the book, Alison Callahan, who in turn introduced the author. Erin Morgenstern spoke a bit about writing her novel, and profusely thanked the booksellers for the early buzz for her book. She graciously signed copies of ARCs as we made our way to the front of the line, entertained by the roving performers along the way.
If you aren’t already following her, you can find Erin Morgenstern on twitter, “like” her author page on Facebook, and visit her website for more information. Check out her blog, Flax-Golden Tales, for literary vignettes and photos posted each Friday – you’ll soon be pulled under the spell of The Night Circus!
Thanks to Ann K., Lesley V., and all the good people who made this party happen!
Oh, and if you’re in the Boston area on October 16 – or in the mood for a road trip – come on over to The Concord Bookshop where Erin will read from and sign The Night Circus!