Madeline Miller continues her exquisite novelization of Ancient Greek characters with Circe, who readers may know by name from Homer’s Odyssey,
This is not, however, the Circe readers might think they know only as the seductress luring men to her island and then transforming them to spend the rest of their days on farm animals. Instead, Miller creates a constantly evolving character, a semi-immortal trying to find her place among gods and men both.
Circe serves as an origin story of sorts, providing an imaginative backstory that gives reason and ethos to the actions of its titular character. But Miller further analyzes Circe’s part-mortal/part-god identity through focusing on her actions, actions that are driven by the human notions of responsibility and duty, love and contempt, family and motherhood. It is a concerted effort to humanize one of Greek Literature’s more devious characters, an effort that makes the character more relatable, and Miller is extremely adept at doing so.
The hybrid nature of Circe’s character is a good description of the book as a whole. It is part fiction, part romance, part ode to classic literature, and results in a fast-paced, witty, fantastical adventure!
Review by Joel
$16.99 Trade Paperback
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