Circe by Madeline Miller

"When I was born, the word for what I was did not exist."

For months now I've seen the gorgeous cover of Madeline Miller's Circe gracing the screen of my phone though countless bookstagram posts, advertisements, and glowing reviews. When I had the chance to read the book as an advanced copy, I passed. It was classified as "women's fiction", so I didn't think it would appeal to me. I'm definitely not the target audience for "women's fiction". Still, I couldn't escape the allure of Miller's novel. Plus, it is 2018. Isn't women's fiction just fiction? Why do we have the need to differentiate? The cover became such a fixture of my awareness that I just had to see what all the fuss was about.

Born among gods and titans, Circe is not like the rest of her family. She is not all powerful as her father Zeus is, but she does have some powers of her own. Specifically, Circe is able to use witchcraft, a feat that scares the gods. She is banished to a deserted island and is forced to live a life of solitude. Rather than wallow in her misfortunes, Circe uses the moment to hone her skills and become more powerful.

Along the way, Circe is forced to face the best and worst sides of both humanity and mythology. She sees and experiences true love, family, and parenthood. She also sees the brutal evils of lust, anger, and war. Circe's story soon intertwines with some of the more familiar tales of Greek mythology. I was particularly drawn to her interactions with the legendary Odyseuss.

Circe by Madeline Miller is a sprawling epic that plays like a greatest hits of Greek mythology. Miller carves a spot for her character amongst some of the better and lesser known myths from the time. Several times I had to pause to research some of the stories to see what Miller was drawing on. Miller elevates her story by placing Circe into moments that force her to face normal human emotions and challenges. By giving her character and empathetic soul, Miller brings the gods and legends down to a level that all readers can relate to.

Despite the ambitious story that spans global history, I couldn't help but feel disconnected from large portions of the novel. Given all of the positive reviews this book received, I was surprised to find myself longing for more from it. Too often, Miller's characters simply tell the epic stories. This makes them removed from the action. Although I can't give Circe the unbridled support that others have, I certainly appreciate the scope and depth that it sets out to present.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.

(2018, 32)

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 12, 2018 and is filed under ,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

2 Responses to “Circe by Madeline Miller”

  1. Well that is a bummer, you are right reviews have been stellar for this.

    1. I know! I'm thinking maybe this just wasn't my cup of tea.


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