Follow the Author
Circe Paperback – 14 April 2020
|New from||Used from|
|Paperback, 14 April 2020|| |
"A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess's story," this #1 New York Times bestseller is "both epic and intimate in its scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right" (Alexandra Alter, The New York Times).
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child -- not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power -- the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.
But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man's world.
#1 New York Times Bestseller -- named one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, the Washington Post, People, Time, Amazon, Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, Newsweek, the A.V. Club, Christian Science Monitor, Refinery 29, Buzzfeed, Paste, Audible, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Thrillist, NYPL, Self, Real Simple, Goodreads, Boston Globe, Electric Literature, BookPage, the Guardian, Book Riot, Seattle Times, and Business Insider.
Shortlisted for the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction
Named one of the 'Best Books of 2018' by NPR, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, People, Time, Amazon, Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, Newsweek, the A.V. Club, Christian Science Monitor, Southern Living, and Refinery 29.
Circe is the utterly captivating, exquisitely written, story of an ordinary, and extraordinary, woman's life--Eimear McBride, author of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
'Circe' is a sentence-by-sentence miracle;--Michigan Daily
so vivid, so layered, you could get lost in it... Whether or not you think you like Greek Mythology, this is just great storytelling. It feels cinematic.--NPR's Here & Now
[Miller] gives voice to Circe as a multifaceted and evolving character...'Circe' is very pleasurable to read, combining lively versions of familiar tales and snippets of other, related standards with a highly psychologized, redemptive and ultimately exculpatory account of the protagonist herself.--Claire Messud, New York Times Book Review
A retelling of ancient Greek lore gives exhilarating voice to a witch... [Circe is] a sly, petulant, and finally commanding voice that narrates the entirety of Miller's dazzling second novel....Readers will relish following the puzzle of this unpromising daughter of the sun god Helios and his wife, Perse, who had negligible use for their child....Expect Miller's readership to mushroom like one of Circe's spells. Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.--Kirkus, Starred Review
Ambitious in scope, Circe is above all the chronicle of an outsider woman who uses her power and wits to protect herself and the people she loves, ultimately looking within to define herself. Readers will savor the message of standing against a hostile world and forging a new way.--Shelf Awareness
An epic spanning thousands of years that's also a keep-you-up-all-night page turner.--Ann Patchett, author of Commonwealth
Circe bears its own transformative magic, a power enabled by Miller's keen eye for beauty, adventure, and reinvention. Through the charms of a misfit heroine, the world of gods becomes stunningly alive, and the world of our own humanity--its questions, loves, and bonds--is illuminated. This book is an immense gift to anyone who reads to find their own bravery and quest.--Affinity Konar, author of Mischling
Circe, ' [is] a bold and subversive retelling of the goddess's story that manages to be both epic and intimate in its scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right.--Alexandra Alter, New York Times
In Madeline Miller's Circe - the gorgeous and gimlet-eyed follow-up to her Orange Prize-winning first novel, The Song of Achilles - the goddess is young and romantic enough at the start to feel a tiny bit let down that she's not shackled to a rock like her uncle, Prometheus, getting her liver pecked out each day.
--Laura Collins-Hughes, Boston Globe
Madeline Miller, master storyteller, conjures Circe glowing and alive - and makes the Gods, nymphs and heroes of ancient Greece walk forth in all their armored splendor. Richly detailed and written with such breathtaking command of story, you will be held enchanted. A breathtaking novel.--Helen Simonson, author of The Summer Before the War and Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Madeline Miller's re-imagining of the witch Circe from The Odyssey makes for an intriguing, feminist adventure novel that is perfectly suited for the #TimesUp moment. Circe is also a smart read that has much to say about the long-term consequences of war and a culture that values violence and conquest over compassion and learning...Miller mines intriguing details from the original tale to imagine a rich backstory for Circe that allows readers to re-visit the world of Olympians and Titans in Greek mythology. From the court of the Titans, the reader meets Circe's parents, the god Helios and nymph Perse, and is introduced to a world of supernatural power players that is every bit as back-biting, gossip-filled and vicious as any episode of House of Cards.
--May-Lee Chai, Dallas News
Miller gives voice to a previously muted perspective in the classics, forging a great romance from the scraps left to us by the ancients....Circe is, instead, a romp, an airy delight, a novel to be gobbled greedily in a single sitting.--Aida Edemariam, Guardian
Miller, with her academic bona fides and born instinct for storytelling, seamlessly grafts modern concepts of selfhood and independence to her mystical reveries of smoke and silver, nectar and bones.--Entertainment Weekly
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.--NPR.org
Miller's spell builds slowly, but by the last page you'll be in awe. In prose of dreamlike simplicity, she reimagines the myth of Circe.--People
One of the most amazing qualities of this novel [is]: We know how everything here turns out - we've known it for thousands of years - and yet in Miller's lush reimagining, the story feels harrowing and unexpected. The feminist light she shines on these events never distorts their original shape; it only illuminates details we hadn't noticed before.--Ron Charles, Washington Post
The story of Circe's entanglement with Odysseus lasts far beyond the narrative of The Odyssey, making for compelling material to revisit. But ultimately it's as a character that Circe stands apart....Through her elegant, psychologically acute prose, Miller gives us a rich female character who inhabits the spaces in between.
--Colleen Abel, Minneapolis Star Tribune
This telling, in the sorceress's own words, is not the version we think we know.--New York Times 'T Magazine'
With lyric beauty of language and melancholy evocative of Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn, CIRCE asks all the big questions of existence while framing them in the life story of the famous goddess who had the magic of transformations. A veritable Who's Who of the gods of Olympus and the heroes of ancient Greece, Circe knows them all and we see them through her perceptive eyes. This is as close as you will ever come to entering the world of mythology as a participant. Stunning, touching, and unique.--Margaret George, author of The Confessions of Young Nero
Written with power and grace, this enchanting, startling, gripping story casts a spell as strong and magical as any created by the sorceress Circe.--Mary Doria Russell, author of Epitaph
About the Author
- Publisher : Back Bay Books (14 April 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0316556327
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316556323
- Dimensions : 13.84 x 3.18 x 20.96 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 110,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Review this product
Reviewed in Australia on 22 March 2021
Reviews with images
Top reviews from Australia
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The other wonderfully realised character is Penelope still growing in old age, looking forward to joining her dead when the time is right, rather than regretting a wasted life.
I am already missing walking barefoot across Circe’s island as the moon rides the night skies watching lovers.
I read Song of Achilles when Miller first released it and to this day it is still one of my favorite books, Miller's writing and story telling ability has gotten even better in the past 7 years and has made Circe a fantastic read.
I would recommend picking up this book, it's a great read.
Top reviews from other countries
I’m not usually a fan of stories told in first person, but this was, without doubt, the best way to tell this story. Ms Miller has taken someone who was a minor character in ‘The Odyssey’ and given her a larger-than-life story. I think what makes this book such a riveting read is the total focus on Circe. There are no unnecessary side stories. We’re drawn into Circe’s life; we’re privy to her thoughts… nothing is hidden from us. She’s far from perfect; she can be unreasonable, and gives in to her negative emotions, but I found her very easy to like.
Although the focus of the story is all on Circe, we’re still treated to an astounding cast of characters – Scylla; Daedalus; Circe’s sister, Pasiphae, mother of the Minotaur; Medea; not to mention the Titans, gods and goddesses. And, last but by no means least, Penelope – another well-written woman, she quickly became my second favourite character.
Ms Miller uses straightforward, simple words, yet her descriptions are lyrical and evocative, like her description of Helios’ halls, which also conveys something of the sun god’s nature…
‘My father’s halls were dark and silent. His palace was… buried in the earth’s rock, and its walls were made of polished obsidian. Why not? They could have been anything in the world, blood-red marble from Egypt or balsam from Araby, my father had only to wish it so. But he liked the way the obsidian reflected his light, the way its slick surfaces caught fire as he passed. Of course, he did not consider how black it would be when he was gone. My father has never been able to imagine the world without himself in it.’
I liked that her witch powers don’t appear to her in an instant; she has to put in the work and practice, practice, practice.
Circe’s interactions with the other characters, especially Daedalus, Odysseus, her son, Telegonus, even Penelope and Telemachus are all richly told. In Ms Miller’s hands, they become real people, each one a distinct character, strong and memorable in their own way. The gods are portrayed as illogical and capricious, which is how the Ancient Greeks saw them, but they don’t come across as stereotypical or two-dimensional.
Although a minor deity, Circe isn’t portrayed as an unattainable goddess. We get to know this remarkable woman extremely well because we’re allowed to share her most personal thoughts. For me, that’s what makes this book – we’re shown Circe as a woman, with the same needs, hopes, desires and dreams as humans.
A scholar of the Classics, Madeline Miller knows her Greek mythology inside and out. She’s amassed all that’s out there about Circe and spun a very believable tale. I read this book slowly, not because it was difficult to read, but I was savouring every part of it; I did not want it to end. When I got to the ending, it made me cry; it was exactly how I’d wanted it to end.
At the beginning of May, I was lucky enough to attend a talk at the British Museum with Madeline Miller, Bettany Hughes and Kamila Shamsie. Ms Miller said she’d wanted to reclaim Circe’s story; she wanted to bring the focus back to this very clever woman who had the wit to surpass Odysseus in their verbal sparring. I suppose one can say, if ‘The Odyssey’ was a man’s story then ‘Circe’ is the woman’s story of that same time including the ages before and after.
However, I found it jarring, to say the least, when phrases such as ' go get' and 'go fix' - were constantly repeated throughout the book. These are just two examples of the 'Americanisms' that have crept in, albeit under the noses of the seemingly vast number of advisers and publishers who got the book published. Did they read the text?
Details like this may seem unimportant, but to me they undermine the authenticity of the story and for that reason I can only award three stars.
Facing off against the plaintive scenes of loss and abandonment are the withering parodies of the gods. Hermes passes over every quarter of the world like a wicked Alan Whicker, 'picking up gossip as hems gather mud' and Athena and Helios, in spite of all their swaggering nectar-dribbling lifestyles, are petty and pusillanimous in the end, leaving Circe to negotiate her exile as she sees fit. Her chutzpah when she defies the big cheeses will give you read-rage, so have some ice cubes handy!
'We should,' Miller's Circe says, 'take pleasure in the simple mending of the world', and the message resonates ever more clearly as the narrative evolves. The abiding image that sticks is of Circe weaving at Dedalus's loom, pulling threads and making amends as she goes. It's a great read, so leave the sprouts alone for a while and open the doors into this mythical emporium of herbs and heroines. The poodle can wait too.
Madeline Miller has now been added to my auto-buy author list as her books are amazing. This was a masterpiece and when I think about it the one word that comes to mind is beautiful. Utterly and stunningly beautiful and one of my favourite reads of the year.
This book is a retelling of The Odyssey and follows the story of the witch Goddess Circe from her life living within halls of her father the Sun God and Titan Helios to her life of exile on Aiaia.
This book is very character driven which is what I loved about it and I adored Circe as a character. As the book is so character driven we get a really deep insight in to Circe’s life, her thoughts and feelings, her relationships with her family and the other Gods, the mortals who come upon her island Daedalus, Odysseus. Her experiences of love, loss and loneliness and I loved every second of it. I also loved watching Circe learn what it means to be immortal and what it means to be a mother.
Madeline Miller’s writing is phenomenal, it is so poetic and lyrical and I could have easily the whole book as it is so beautiful.
Overall, this book is a complete masterpiece that I highly recommend and I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.
AUTHOR: MADELINE MILLER
PUBLISHER: BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING
IF I COULD REVIEW IT IN A SINGLE LINE: The best money you’d ever spend
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.
When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe's place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.
There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe's independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
Breathing life into the ancient world, Madeline Miller weaves an intoxicating tale of gods and heroes, magic and monsters, survival and transformation.
I am not usually a fan of mythology reads but this particular book was so talked about on bookstagram that I knew I had to get my hands on it; and obviously was practically squeaking when I father gave it to me as one of my birthday presents.
It is one of those reads that collectively makes the fam agree on a stellar rating. The Circe has been read and re read over the past couple of months by as many people as possible out there and has been reviewed by oh so many of us but none of the reviewing including this one can do justice entirely to the book because it has the most epic and novel and yet enticing background with plotlines that there ever has been. Circe is the daughter of Helios, the Sun God and Perse, a naiad and thus a goddess herself but with a catch that she is a nymph with no powers of her own in the initial years or so everyone thought, she suffered at the hands of her siblings. What no one knows is the that she is a powerful witch with a supreme power lying dormant in her. When situation asks for it she rises beyond and shows her true colors. She is a witch so powerful she turns a mortal into God out of her endearing affection and sheer will. Pharmaka or witchcraft is frowned upon by gods and hence Circe is exiled into the land of Aiaia to lead a solitary life and we go on a journey through her immortality.
The true power of the book you may say is in the fact that Circe doesn’t just lead a solitary life but a life unparalleled to any other purely based on the fact that she answers to no one and her land is hers, everyone has to be there with her permission and she has no one to order her about. Madelline Miller the genius uses this story, the life of Circe to show case the faculty of feminism, estrangement and making the best of her life.
I cannot put into words how much I fell in love with this book purely out of my admiration for the author to show case a story of an immortal not so important to many in the Greek mythology but yet with her very own strength, uniqueness, will power and above all the very ability to fight all odds.
Also I thought this is worth mentioning I ordered the hardcover edition of the book and OH MY GOD is it pretty.
Writing and Presentation: 5/5
Overall: 5/5; I can’t even tell you how much I loved the book.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy for @thatbooknerdyouknow. This review is my own and hasn’t been influenced by anyone else.