Circe by Madeline Miller

1. First lines 2. Published 2018 Bloomsbury Little, Brown & Co 3. Long-haired woman [Public Domain] via Public Domain Vectors 4. ‘Circe Mulling Wine’ by Gioacchino Assereto, Dayton Art Institute [Public Domain] via Wikimedia 5. painting of Odysseus’s boat passing between the six-headed monster Scylia and the whirlpool Charybdis. Scylla has plucked Five of Odysseus’s men from the boat. The painting is an Italian fresco. By Alessandro Allori [Public Domain] via Wikimedia 6. Aeaea, the island of Circe, located south of Rome with the Islands of the Sirens closeby By via Wikimedia
She turned men into pigs!

This is a reimagining of Circe’s story. Circe is a nymph, daughter of the sun god Helios, who banishes her to the island of Aiaia because she used magic to turn Scylla into a monster. On the island, she hones her craft of magic, using the island’s natural resources – rocks, soils, plants. Odyseuss, King of Ithaca arrives by ship on his return home from from the Trojan War, and she begins a relationship with him.

“For a hundred generations, I have walked the world, drowsy and dull, idle and at my ease,” she thinks. “Then I learned I could bend the world to my will, as a bow is bent for an arrow. I would have done that toil a thousand times to keep such power in my hands. I thought: this is how Zeus felt when he first lifted the thunderbolt.”

“So many years I had spent as a child sifting his bright features for his thoughts, trying to glimpse among them one that bore my name. But he was a harp with only one string, and the note it played was himself. “You have always been the worst of my children,” he said. “Be sure not to dishonour me.”

“I have a better idea. I will do as I please, and when you count your children, leave me out.”

~Quotes from “Circe” by Madeline Miller
  • The New York Times: ““Circe” will surely delight readers new to the witch’s stories as it will many who remember her role in the Greek myths of their childhood: Like a good children’s book, it engrosses and races along at a clip, eliciting excitement and emotion along the way.”
  • Independent UK: “Miller has effected a transformation just as impressive as any of her heroine’s own: she’s turned an ancient tale of female subjugation into one of empowerment and courage full of contemporary resonances.”
  • NPR: “Miller’s lush, gold-lit novel — told from the perspective of the witch whose name in Greek has echoes of a hawk and a weaver’s shuttle –paints another picture: of a fierce goddess who, yes, turns men into pigs, but only because they deserve it.”

Other editions

Author: Madeline Miller

Adaptation: A HBO television series – release date yet to be announced.

Notable Awards: 2019 Nominee Women’s Prize for Fiction

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