Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe by Madeline Miller

A taste of Greek History done Wonderfully

Have you ever had a book suggested to you and you are not sure where it is going to go for you? I loved that this was suggested because I do not think that I would have picked this up on my own.  This is my first novel by Madeline Miller and I am sure that this will not be my last. I am not a fan of historical fiction or retellings of old myths that go beyond whatever flesh and bone we have left of them, but Miller here achieves the near impossible–refreshing old stories with her vivid, fitting descriptions and meditations on the world they arose from. I love Greek Myths this is why this was on my reading list and I finished it in one day.

Some reviewers have felt a lack of plot in Circe, but on the contrary I think although it can certainly slow at times and not all phases of Circe’s life are equally interesting, that this tells her story wonderfully in its fits and its lulls. Miller is a truly gifted writer and I think only a few steps she took were false ones. It’s a poetic writing style that makes me feel like it’s a song with high notes and low notes with a lovely end.

The real genius to this book is how it–despite playing with the myths a bit (not that they were always consistent) –takes on larger issues. Helios may not have been as strident and unfeeling in the few myths we have of him, but Miller using him, his family, his peers, and his rivals as a meditation on how immortals might behave, countering it with meditations on mortals and their lot is nothing less than brilliant. I wish that there was a bit more written about the female Gods but that is not something that I would take stars away from. I enjoyed it way too much to be picky.


A shimmering, thought-provoking book with a cover to match. I find myself wanting to recommend this to any person who likes this style just to see what a person who is more comfortable with this genre then I am. I look forward to reading The Song of Achilles this year just to have another taste of this author.


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