- Language: English
- Genre: Mythological Retelling
- Pages: 333 pages
- Format: Paperback
- Author: Madeline Miller
- Publishing Date: April,2018
- Publisher:Bloomsbury Publishing
- ISBN-10: 1526603330
- ISBN-13: 978-1526603333
When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.
God, Mortal, Daughter, Monster, Savior, Outcast, Sister, Lover, Destroyer, Creator, Witch, Mother, CIRCE
When I started reading this book, I didn’t know I’ll love it so much.
Magnificent, Unbelievable, Extraordinary, Incredible, Overwhelming, Remarkable, Glorious, Enthralling, Irresistible, Breathtaking, Soul-Stirring, CIRCE.
When I received this book for review, I expected it to be another retelling of Odysseus. Boy oh boy, was I wrong. This is not just a retelling; it’s an original story brimming with woman power. I read Iliad and Odysseus when I was in college. So to refresh my memory, I decided to read Odysseus again before reading this book. However, due to time constraint, I dived straight into Circe.
Little tip- many people may suggest you to read the original tale before reading this book. My suggestion is forget the original work. Whatever information you need regarding Greek mythology, it’s available in the book itself. Read the original tale once you finish the story. You’ll realize that everything feels like mansplaining after that. As if the stories only exist to glorify valor of heroes and represent women as sorceress, monster or destroyer. And that is the main theme of this book.
As the name suggests, story is about Circe. We follow her journey as a young & gullible minor goddess who is humiliated and belittled by her own family members. All she wants in life is their love and approval. But afraid of her powers, they banish her to live alone on a faraway island. Spurned by her family, she finally accepts her true power as a witch and hones her skills. She gathers the broken fragments of her life and rebuilds it from a scratch.
“For a hundred generations, I had walked the world, drowsy and dull, idle and at my ease. I left no prints, I did no deeds. Even those who had loved me a little did not care to stay.
Then I learned that 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 a power in my hands. I thought: this is how Zeus felt when he first lifted the thunderbolt.”
The best thing about this story is its relatibility. Circe is an immortal goddess and powerful witch and yet she is rejected by all just because they can’t control her. Gods use her according to their will and then cast her away. Turns out just like humans even goddesses are play-things for divinity. But over the time, she learned her lesson and became confident and self-reliant. When the world expected her to fade away with time, she proved them wrong with her courage and determination.
Madeline Miller has creatively intertwined many Greek myths with the main story- Scylla, Minotaur, Dedalus, Icarus, Cyclops and off course Odysseus’ tale. But without any doubt, Circe’s tale consumed my soul completely. Miller’s writing style is so wonderfully descriptive that while reading it felt as if I am traveling with Circe. I could clearly visualize Oceanus’ palace, Aiaia, Minos’ island and all other the places mentioned in the book. She took all the old Greek tales and created something so beautiful that it became impossible for me to put down this book.
The portrayal of motherhood in this story completely melted my heart. The pain Circe bears to bring Telegonas to this world is heart-wrenching. As a mother she does everything in her power to save her child. But internally she is also frightened that her boundless love will eventually devour her completely. To be honest, I have never a book which portrays mother’s love so beautifully.
I haven’t read Song of Achilles yet but I am going to rectify this situation soon. I can talk about Circe incessantly but I’ll conclude by saying that please read this classic (Yes, it definitely qualifies as one). Something inside me changed completely after reading this soul stirring tale. I definitely see myself reading this story again and again in future. I’ll recommend this book to every reader who reads as one would breathe air.
Thank you Bloomsbury India for sending me this ARC for review.