Author : Madeline Miller
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Publication Date: 04/05/18
“All this while, I have been a weaver without wool, a ship without the sea. Yet now look where I sail.”
I was not expecting the intensity of enjoyment I would find in this title. Completely blown away.
This novel had one of those ‘mic drop’ endings that was so beautiful and powerful that I just sat for a moment, staring into nothingness--just in total awe of this author’s skill with storytelling. This will without-a-doubt be one of my favorite reads of 2018.
Circe centers around the tale of Circe, daughter of Helios and one of the first witches in historical story telling. After some brief family drama and an incident where Circe uses her powers to do evil and harm to another, Circe is exiled to a remote island to live out eternity in solitude. On this island she discovers more about her powers than she ever thought possible, while also discovering much about her own soul and desires.
But this story isn’t just about Circe. Miller weaves in the stories of other immortals and mortals alike, as they cross paths with Circe’s destiny. Since Circe is immortal, this novel spans a timeline of hundreds of years, creating a tale of epic proportions (while including characters along the way from other historically famous epics). Circe goes through a multitude of experiences on the pages of this novel. She experiences love, betrayal, heartbreak, and loss–all while being a cast-away on her exiled prison.
“I had no right to claim him, I knew it. But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.”
Miller’s writing is lyrical and powerful, without being flowery and exhaustive. And she has provided an empathetic and soulful connection to these well-known stories in Greek mythology that I have never seen an author create before. I already knew the outcome for many of the characters in this story, but the originals were always told with such a matter-of-fact-ness and without any touches of emotion, that I have never truly felt a connection with any of the characters. But in Circe, I felt such intense emotions for several of the characters’ stories– feelings that I never knew for those characters before Miller’s writing. This novel is an ART. Plain and simple. Retellings are a hard thing to do, and even harder to do it right–with the historical respect for the originals, but with enough grace and talent to create something entirely unique in itself.
Madeline Miller is an artist.
“Only that: we are here. This is what it means to swim in the tide, to walk the earth and feel it touch your feet. This is what it means to be alive.”
**Also–While reading this novel, there were one or two quick mentions of Achilles and his lover, Patroclus. I knew that Miller also had a previously released novel titled The Song of Achilles, so I did a little quick digging to see the synopsis and reviews for that novel and– holy cow, guys– this author has won me over. That title takes the historically speculated and debated relationship of Achilles and Patroclus and repaints it into Miller’s rendition of Achilles’ story as a person and a gay man in love– making his character the priority instead of his battles and achievements– which I am SO thrilled to read! I will be pre-ordering a hardcopy of Circe, and also ordering The Song of Achilles, because I am just so in love with her writing.
Thank you to Madeline Miller and Little, Brown, & Co. for providing me with a DRC of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.