''Circe' recapitulates the story with which we are familiar from 'The Odysseus' - that of the witch who dwells on an island on which Odysseus tarries on his journey back from the battle of Troy - but delves into the circumstances behind that incident and gives insight into the reasons why Circe lives on that island and why she turns men into swine. Circe is not just a run of the mill Greek witch, but the daughter of the Sun who was exiled to her island for her crimes of defying the Olympians and aiding Prometheus who had gifted mankind with fire. The first sailors who come to Circe's island rape her, and she perceives them as swine and therefore avenges herself by changing them into pigs. Odysseus, the trickster, manages to evade this fate but lingers far longer than he had intended on the enchanted isle - long enough for Circe to conceive a son. Later, in a classic Greek tragic twist, that son slays his father, but Penelope (Odysseus' wife, who had spent the twelve years of the Trojan War waiting for her husbands return while weaving and repelling unwanted suitors) and her son Telemachus come to the island and a new family grouping is forged. This is the Greece of the classics transformed into a very readable version of the old myths that keeps the reader enthralled while remaining true to the sources.
I enjoyed The Song of Achilles, but delighted in Circe, a really lovely story. This was such a pleasure to read, thoughtful, with a sound knowledge of character and detailed knowledge of the myths and legends of Ancient Greece. Circe herself is a wonderful woman, growing from an insecure child desperate to belong, to be loved, in a world that mocks weakness or need. By the novel’s conclusion she finally knows herself and has come to terms with her needs. One hopes for her future. The other wonderfully realised character is Penelope still growing in old age, looking forward to joining her dead when the time is right, rather than regretting a wasted life. I am already missing walking barefoot across Circe’s island as the moon rides the night skies watching lovers.
A fascinating and gripping re-telling of some of the most famous Greek myths, through the eyes of the enchantress, Circe. The book is beautifully written. I found myself immersed in the story and not wanting it to end. The characters include Circe herself, her family, some of the Greek gods and other famous mythological figures including Odysseus and Scylla.The characters are sensitively drawn and very believable, even though they inhabit a mythological world. To say too much more about the story would risk spoiling it for other readers. The story and characters will stay with me a long time. If you enjoyed "The Children of Jocasta" by Natalie Haynes, you will enjoy this book too.
I loved this book. Miller's writing is beautiful and really pulls you into the world she has created. It was a story about growth and retaking power that had me captivated throughout the telling. I read Song of Achilles when Miller first released it and to this day it is still one of my favorite books, Miller's writing and story telling ability has gotten even better in the past 7 years and has made Circe a fantastic read. I would recommend picking up this book, it's a great read.
I loved Circe as much as the Song of Achilles, I didn't want it to finish. Madeline Miller is an excellent writer and can make the legends of Homer come to life. I am looking forward to her next offering.