Rereadings: ‘The Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern
I had been traveling for almost two months. I had just finished Perez-Reverte’s not-terribly-uplifting The Siege. And I was coming off a mini-family reunion that was anything but relaxing. My inner self wanted to curl up into the fetal position and be told a good, old-fashioned, beautiful story. And my outer self wasn’t too far behind in those desires.
So it was I ended up at Florence’s Amerigo Vespucci Airport (yes, really) with my Kindle in hand six hours early for my flight; a flight, it should be noted, that would eventually be delayed, then diverted through Bologna for no apparent reason, and finally arrive in Paris about five hours later than it was supposed to in the dead of night. I was exhausted and I just wanted something that felt familiar and good and comforting.
Enter Erin Morgenstern.
I first read Morgenstern’s The Night Circus when it first came out four years ago. I utterly adored it (and my co-blogger Kate loved it even more!). It combined everything I most love about imaginative fiction: beauty, whimsy, romance, and pure, unadulterated magic.
At the time, I was unable to quite articulate what was so incredible about the book. It was transportive without being flashy. It had magic that was subtle and beautiful and utterly lacking in razzle-dazzle hocus-pocus. It was achingly romantic without being sappy. And it was so 100% up my alley that I could hardly form coherent sentences to explain how much I loved it.
In the four years between my first reading and the reread, I had not picked up The Night Circus even once. I had moved it with me as I moved from place to place, always reserving a fond smile for it, but never once rereading even a small part of it. I knew I loved it and never felt the need to revisit it.
This was, quite simply, very foolish. The Night Circus is amazing and should probably be read on an annual basis. But I’m also kind of glad I didn’t reread it regularly. The distance created by that four-year gap made the return all the more welcome and enveloping. It was exactly what I needed in that lonely airport: it was home.
My second reading of The Night Circus wasn’t so much concerned with loving the technical aspects of it. (They remain admirable.) Rather, I became enchanted by how much I could disappear into a book, regardless of where I was or how low I was feeling, and how something I’d only read once before could feel so familiar and welcoming.
The Night Circus was everything I needed in that moment and more. I left the airport, I left the noise, I left my tiredness, and I just went into the story. As with the first time around, I was stunned by how quietly Morgenstern works the magic that draws you heart and soul into her tale. The Night Circus is such a calm read that you really don’t notice when hours pass, locations change, or travel mishaps occur. It’s all okay because you’re not really there. You’re really in the beautiful world of Erin Morgenstern’s creation. And you’re loving it.
So hunker down, dear readers, and treat yourself to a few hours of escapism. I can almost guarantee you won’t regret it.