Circe

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Circe book cover

by Madeline Miller

Publication date: April 10, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Hardcover: 400 Pages

Publisher Description

This #1 New York Times bestseller is a “bold and subversive retelling of the goddess’s story” that brilliantly reimagines the life of Circe, formidable sorceress of The Odyssey (Alexandra Alter, TheNew York Times).

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child — not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power — the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.

Review

Madeline Miller’s latest novel, Circe, takes the reader on a journey through the world of Greek mythology, focusing on one of its most famous figures: Circe, daughter of Helios and goddess of witchcraft. In this page-turning read, Miller weaves an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, personal growth, and triumph over adversity.

Set in the world of mortals and the realm of gods, Circe tells the story of a lonely and misunderstood witch banished to a deserted island by her father, Helios – God of the Sun. Being an outcast in her own family due to her lack of power compared to her siblings, Circe turns to the occult craft and discovers the immense power of witchcraft. She uses it to tame wild beasts, protect herself from the wrath of men, and even challenge the gods themselves.

But Circe’s story is not just about her powers and struggles with her family. It also intertwines with that of wily Odysseus – hero of the Trojan War and main character in Homer’s Odyssey. Through her encounters with Odysseus and other mythological figures, Circe’s character is beautifully developed as a strong, independent woman who refuses to conform to the expectations of her male-dominated world.

Miller’s writing is both captivating and lyrical, transporting readers to the remote island of Aiaia where Circe resides. The author’s use of witchcraft and magical herbs adds an extra layer of intrigue to the already suspenseful plot. While the novel retells Circe’s journey, it also cleverly explores other themes such as family, love, and power – making for a multi-dimensional read.

With its vivid characters and engaging storytelling, Circe celebrates indomitable female strength and a subversive retelling of one of Greek mythology’s most infamous female figures.

 

For those unfamiliar with Greek mythology, ‘Circe’ is still a must-read. Miller’s vivid descriptions and well-developed characters bring this ancient world to life, making it accessible to all readers.

Elisabeth sign.

5/5

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CIRCE READING GUIDE

About the author

Madeline Miller grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. Her first novel, The Song of Achilles, was awarded the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction and a New York Times Bestseller. Her second novel, Circe, was an instant number 1 New York Times bestseller.

Read more about Madeline ON HER WEBSITE

Praise


“[Miller] gives voice to Circe as a multifaceted and evolving character…’ Circe’ is very pleasurable to read, combining lively versions of familiar tales and snippets of other, related standards with a highly psychologized, redemptive and ultimately exculpatory account of the protagonist herself.”―Claire Messud, New York Times Book Review

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“Circe,’ [is] a bold and subversive retelling of the goddess’s story that manages to be both epic and intimate in its scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right.”―Alexandra Alter, New York Times

“One of the most amazing qualities of this novel [is]: We know how everything here turns out – we’ve known it for thousands of years – and yet in Miller’s lush reimagining, the story feels harrowing and unexpected. The feminist light she shines on these events never distorts their original shape; it only illuminates details we hadn’t noticed before.”―Ron Charles, Washington Post

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