Circe by Miller Madeline
Download Circe by Miller Madeline PDF book free online – “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 AV 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 .
Table of Contents
Summary of Circe by Miller Madeline
I know it may be odd to talk about “spoilers” when this is the story of a mythological character, but there are reasons for that and I will explain in the review.
This book is told from the point of view of Circe, daughter of the sun Titan Helios. Her mother was Perse, a sea nymph who was the granddaughter of the Titan Oceanos.
We mainly know of Circe from the Odyssey and her interactions with Odysseus. She was known as a sorceress who lived on an island and turned men into pigs. We know from the Odyssey that Circe was often seen working at a huge loom surrounded by dangerous animals such as wolves and lions, yet they were all under her control. We also know from the Odyssey that Odysseus – by virtue of his wiles – not only avoids Circe’s sorcery but beds her as well. When he leaves she gives him advice on how to survive the perils on his seaward journey home to his homeland of Ithaca, such as Scylla and Charybdis, so he can reunite with his beloved wife Penelope and son Telemachus.
So why did I like this book so much? Well, stand back, because I’m about to gush.
I am a big fan of Greek mythology, and I was a big fan of this author’s previous book, The Song of Achilles. Yet this one was even better.
Circe was not a major figure in the Odyssey; in fact when I first opened the book I realized I got her mixed up with Calypso. But I won’t make that mistake anymore. This minor character has now become my favorite character of all thanks to this author’s brilliant work.
Because this book is told from Circe’s point of view, we get to intimately know her – not just her history and story but her thoughts as well. The reason this is so important is because we come to empathize with Circe. We tend to think of the Greek Gods as so fickle and often cruel – and indeed they are often depicted that way – yet with Circe, we meet a goddess who is so human and so very, very likable.
The reason I made the “no spoilers” comment at the start, is because Circe’s experiences include her meeting and interacting with various other figures from Greek myth, and it’s a big part of the enjoyment of this novel to experience it the way the author intended , without knowing what is going to happen next.
I took a few days to read this book but that was not because it was a slow read. Just the opposite; I was so happy while reading it that I would stop myself after each chapter just to pace myself so it wouldn’t end too soon.
I highly (obviously) recommend this to any fans of Greek mythology and for sure to anyone who enjoyed The Song of Achilles. But you don’t have to know much about the Odyssey or Greek mythology to love this book. Although this novel is about a god, it’s really a story about what it means to be human.
Winner of the 2019 Indie Choice AwardShortlisted for the 2019 Women’s Prize for FictionNamed one of the ‘Best Books of 2018’ by NPR, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, People, Time, Amazon, Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, Newsweek, the AV Club, Christian Science Monitor, Southern Living,and Refinery 29.– –
“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
“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
“[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
“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
“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
“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’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
“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
“This telling, in the sorceress’s own words, is not the version we think we know.”- New York Times ‘T Magazine’
About the Author
Madeline Miller was born in Boston and attended Brown University where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. She lives in Narbeth, PA with her husband and two children. The Song of Achilles was awarded the Orange Prize for Fiction and has been translated into twenty-five languages.