“We are all stardust and stories.”―
This year I was somehow gifted The Starless Sea by three bookish friends. While one copy I gifted back to one of them, I now have one more spare to gift out to someone who wants it. Just need the Covid situation to get better for me to go to the PO to send it out.
Title: The Starless Sea
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Publisher: Harvill Secker
Author: Erin Morgenstern
She is an American author who is basically a multimedia artist and Night Circus is her first novel, which was written as NaNoWriMo and then later converted into a book. She has a degree in theater and lives in Massachusetts.
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Some where some place it seems that time and fate fell in love. The stars did not approve of this and did their best to separate the two. Dispirited the two roam about till they find each other again. The stars are mighty concerned and this time decided to call the parliament of the owls to intervene in consultation with the moon. The moon was not happy about separating the two and reluctantly gave her consent to the stars and the owls separated the two on a dark moonless night.
There is a pirate imprisoned in the basement whose life intertwines with the girl who brings in his food everyday. He starts telling her a story and then another and then another and before long they fall in love. The girl rescues him and the two get out of the cellar. But do they stay together forever or does chance conspires to separate them?
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a University grad student who stumbles upon a strange book in the library which is uncatalogued. Despite his best efforts he is unable to find more about the book other than the fact that it was donated by Jonathan Keating Foundation. He starts to carry that book everywhere and gets extremely possessive about it but is unable to explain why so.
Actually he can explain it as the first story in the book is about him. More accurately, it recounts an event that occurred with him when he was about 10-12 years old. Now he cannot fathom how he comes about to be featured in a book when he is sure he told no one about that incident. Nor did anyone witness it. But then how was it so seamlessly narrated in this book?
“Not all stories speak to all listeners, but all listeners can find a story that does, somewhere, sometime. In one form or another.” ―
And the other tales are even more bewitching as they talk about an underground labyrinth storehouse of books and stories. These are meticulously preserved and looked after by mysterious acolytes who appear to have taken a serious vow to do so.
His book has a key, bee and a sword insignia on it and this leads him to research the three on the net. He stumbles on a picture of a woman wearing them on a chain and seems to be part of a masquerade ball. When he searches further, he realizes its an annual event and this year’s is just around the corner. He buys a ticket and heads there not knowing what he is expecting to do exactly.
He meets some intriguing characters and when one leads him to a Collector’s club and cajoles him to steal a book for him, life seems to become very adventurous suddenly. Escaping with his life intact he is heralded down a door in Central Park which opens into the very underground cavern that the book told him about.
This is where life gets really surreal for him and he is amazed at the stories that are lurking in every nook and corner of the place. He meets some cats, a Keeper, an acolyte and interacts with the Bees who seem to be running the kitchen. Every where he forages here, stories seem to tumble out at him. Some lure him further in while others leave him hanging and still others disintegrate on touch.
“But the world is strange and endings are not truly endings no matter how the stars might wish it so.”
He learns of the starless sea and how Fate and Time were separated and need to be held together as the world is unraveling here. Zachary is the key to solving this somehow and every turn brings him a new clue or a friend who helps him out further on the quest set for him. And among it all is the book he found in the library-somehow its the key to the unlocking a particular door.
He battles death, is reborn again and then is reunited with his soulmate – all in the heart span of this tale.
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Lasting Impression on me:
How to even describe the feeling of reading something written by Erin Morgenstern? She literally writes as if in a dream and man can she dream! Let me just add here that some people have found it confusing to read this book as it jumps between tales. But let me assure you that, that is its novelty. Each tale has its own chapter, so you are pre-warned when you are getting into another story. I quite enjoyed reading it and this story jumping was actually exciting for me.
Morgenstern does ample justice to her vivid imagination which has such lustful imagery drawn into words that one cannot help but want to be a part of this world. Night Circus had made me yearn to find the circus in a field near me-I would have joined it in a heartbeat. And now this book!!
Fantasy and magical realism is truly her forte and she is a master story teller. Her twists and turns are layered with gorgeous imagery; pure textual sorcery is what this book is about. And when the topic is preserving stories and legends in a hidden underground labyrinth; can a book lover help but be intrigued?
I bow down to her writer’s genius with abashed heads, hearts and hands down as the worlds she creates in her imagination and then on paper are just what one needs when one immerses themselves into a story.
I swear I need a higher rating than 5/5 stars for this one. What a book! Please guys do yourselves a favor and pick it up ASAP and then thank me later. I accept thanks in kind – check out my book list please 😉
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You can check out my review of Erin Morgenstern’s superb masterpiece“Night Circus”, if you are a fan of this genre.