Circe by Madeline Miller – A Book Review
“When I was born the name for what I was did not exist”
Circe was the first witch in Greek Mythology. A woman hated by her father, the sun god Helios. Her mother was a nymph called Perse.
A subversive retelling of the Greek myth, Circe is powerful and vulnerable, master and slave, witch and goddess.
I recall my childhood memories of immersive reading of the Greek myths thanks to “D’Aulaires book of Greek Myths” which is the best compilation of these myths till date. Circe is mentioned briefly but her character is unexplored.
This book gives the depth that Circe needs. Famous for turning men into pigs she figurels in Odyssey where Odysseus wanders to the island of Aiaia where Circe has been banished for going against the rules of Gods..
Written in first person, the author delights in the retellings of many famous stories that become Circe’s childhood memories whether it is Prometheus’ punishment or Daedalus and Icarus’ wax wing folly.
The witch has been given human like emotions while Olympian Gods are shown as megalomaniacs obsessed with their power. Circe matches her men wit by wit and her love is a healer to all of them. All her lovers are mortals except for Hermes who is more of a fling. She has a special affinity towards mortals due to her loathing for the blustering gods.
A pleasurable read, Circe is a coming of age book where she turns herself from an awkward, self doubting least loved child to a witch, goddess, mother and a woman of power who commands her own destiny in the end.
I can’t wait to start “Song of Achilles”