Circe, You Know, the Sorceress




Circe, famous for turning Odysseus's men into pigs, was born of Helios, the god of the sun, and a nymph named Perse. In Madeline Miller's adaptation, Circe wishes for the approval of her father and a smidge of kindness from her mother. Unfortunately, her parents are gods and only concerned with their own pleasure.


Circe's parents: My thoughts exactly 

At first, she piles all her love unto her brother Aeetes, but he quickly turns his attention to greater things. Alone with her feelings, she falls in love with a mortal who she wills into a god. In thanks, he dumps her. Oh and she also inadvertently creates a monster through jealousy. Whoopsies! This is a new power among the gods and Zeus isn't having it. He exiles her to the island of Aiaia.

Life there sounds pretty sweet, actually. A house that cleans itself? Lots of alone time for sorcery? Pet lions and wolves? Sign me up! However, it's not long until the terrible, terrible world lands at her door. How will Circe deal with humanity?

Circe is a sympathetic look at the goddess. Instead of the evil witch nearly all of literature makes her out to be, she's a goddess with special powers which could be used for good or ill. And mostly she's just trying to be good. Wherever she is, she's lonely, whether it's in her father's palace or her deserted island. Her loneliness makes her desperate. Early on she's a bit of a doormat, but after centuries she comes into her own. By the end of the novel, she's quite the bad ass!

A modern day Circe

Circe is a "suck it, patriarchy" novel, turning the usual narrative of a powerful female as "E-veeeeel" into a story of a goddess finding her rightful place in the world. And I loved it.


4 comments:

  1. Did you read The Song of Achilles? How did this one compare to that one? I like-not-loved Song of Achilles and felt slightly out of step with all the people who raved about it. So I wasn't sure if I should give Circe a cry or nah.

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    1. No I didn't read that one. I didn't think I'd enjoy all the war stuff. So I can't really compare the two.

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  2. I added this to my pile when it first came out because everyone was talking about it (in a good way) but I'm not sure it's for me. I'd like to read it with a group so we can discuss it.

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    1. I think that would be a good way to read it. The one hurdle I had to overcome was the idea that there were literal gods doing things like, driving the sun through the sky. That was a little weird.

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