Circe by Madeline Miller

If you love Greek mythology Circe is for you. Madeline Miller creates a world based on the enchantress. Circe is the daughter of the sun god Helios and Oceanid nymph, Perse. Circe has long been an inspiration in literature. Homer and James Joyce wrote of her. She was a powerful sorceress who turned sailors into pigs. She is emasculating and potent. In Madeline’s first-person story, Circe reveals her emotions. She is not traditionally beautiful like her mother.  At her birth, when her mother imagined her betrothed to a son of Zeus, Helios states “No. Her hair is streaked like a lynx. And her chin. There is a sharpness to it that is less than pleasing.” In a world full of arrogant, narcissistic and vengeful Gods, she rises in her strength. She discovers her powers and befriends mortals. The solitary birth of her first child “I knew so little of childbirth, its stages and progression. The shadows changed, but it was all one endless moment, the pain like stones grinding me to meal …On it went. In my agonies, I overturned a table.” and her independence make Circe relevant. The embellished tale is peppered with many characters from Greek mythology. Out of this tradition rises a unique retelling with a women’s inner world at the core.

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