Madeline Miller    Pages: 393     Published: 2018

The book: In the ancient Greek epic, The Odyssey, by the poet Homer, Odysseus, journeying home after the fall of Troy, encounters the witch Circe. He and his men are delayed on her island for a year. Although it takes Odysseus ten years to get home, Circe’s appearance in The Odyssey is fleeting. This wonderful novel is Miller’s reimagining and retelling of Circe’s life.

You might like it because: This is a marvelous story. Miller has not only brought to life a compelling and vivid world of Greek gods, titans, and nymphs, but she has also created a very real and incredibly engaging protagonist in Circe herself. I have never been so disappointed to leave a character behind at the end of a book.

What did other people say?
“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.”  – The New York Times

“Think a novel based on Greek mythology isn’t for you?  Just wait.  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, the sun god’s unloved daughter who went on to invent witchcraft and enchant Homer’s Odysseus.”  – People 

Awards & Recognition:
Number 1 New York Times Bestseller

How quickly will you get into the book? Miller’s novel is a delight to read; her wonderful storytelling pulled me into the book from the very first page.

You might not like it because: Miller has reimagined Circe and her story within the basic parameters of Greek mythology. Some readers may want the story to be more fantastical and modern. Others may just not find ancient Greek stories, even a contemporary reimagining of them, compelling.

What might you read next?
You could read a translation of Homer’s original epic story, where Circe briefly appears. Pick up Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey.

In an interview for Australian bookstore Booktopia, Miller was asked, “Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?” The first writer she cited was David Mitchell, and she mentioned his book The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. You could read that one.

In the same interview she also said she admired Barbara Kingsolver. You could pick up one of her books. Why not try The Poisonwood Bible?

 © 2019

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