I love the circus. I used to go a lot as a child, though I’m not sure that’s the reason. Perhaps I romanticize the life? I read Water for Elephants and liked it more than I expected. But Morgenstern’s book far surpasses that one. The atmosphere here – suggested by the details, the second person passages, and the behind-the-scenes moments – is stunning. For about 400 pages, I felt like I was there or at least certainly wanted to be there. The only flat scenes (those between Marco and Celia) were as awkward as they were inevitable. And when things fill apart, the prose does as well. It’s not surprising that a first book falls apart near the end (starting about page 400). In this case, the first 80% of the novel more than makes up for it. I adored the setting (Morgenstern’s also an artist) and the minor characters. I also finished the book in 4 days. I just wanted to be in Morgenstern’s world. I am tempted to look up some of it to see what, if anything, was based on a true story, but I prefer to leave it all to my imagination and Morgenstern’s. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.