The Midnight Circus is a decadent collection of immersive fairytales from a seasoned American author.
This collection was my introduction to Yolen’s work. As a new reader, I found the preface and the story notations to be a pseudo-conversation with the author. I learned so much from her in such a short time, and got a personalized insight into her thought processes and inspiration. There’s also kind words from authors Theodora Goss and Alethea Kontis before and after the stories.
There are 16 stories in total, some from years ago and others relatively new. The themes are wildly imaginative, dark and somber, and filled with whimsy notions of angels, mermaids, & winter people. Yolen draws subject matter from her Jewish heritage to powerful effect in Names and The Snatchers. The Weaver of Tomorrow is a heartbreakingly beautiful explanation to the “whys” of life and death. I could go on but there’s so much to make note of, as each story is a brilliant fairy tale with a rhyme and reason.
I can’t call this horror (despite the wonderfully eerie cover art), but rather short stories that are tinted different shades of dark. Some are clear-cut speculative fiction and others are certainly soul crushing. As a whole, this collection of a career’s worth of successes is a celebration of an American author that is often times called a modern Hans Christian Andersen. Frankly, I think Yolen reaches far beyond tragic girls and their macabre endings.
The Midnight Circus will be available on October 1st, 2020 and you can purchase it here.
Support horror. Support literacy.