Circe

Circe

A Novel

Book - 2018
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Follows Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios, as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.
Publisher: New York, NY : Little, Brown and Company, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316556347
0316556343
Branch Call Number: FIC MILLER 2018
Characteristics: 393 pages : map ; 25 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

A retelling of ancient Greek lore gives exhilarating voice to a witch.

Circe follows the banished witch daughter of the Titans as she practices her powers for an inevitable conflict with one of Olympus’s most vindictive gods. I found myself pondering motherhood, mortality, and feminism. For readers of historical and mythological drama or anyone who loves a strong fe... Read More »

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LibraryRosanna Aug 22, 2019

Madeline Miller's Circe is an incredible read, filled with luscious prose and unforgettable characters. I didn't just read this book; I gobbled it up. It's a wonderful take on the myth of Circe, the witch of Greek legend. I'll remember this one for a long time, and look forward to reading more by this author.

k
knradach
Aug 15, 2019

Super fascinating, easy read. This is Greek myth in today's language.. tells the tale of an exiled daughter of Helios (god of the sun) and a nymph. It has some family drama, some romance, some magic, and some heartache.. what more could you ask for!?

s
singidunum_25
Aug 13, 2019

Captivated read for all those fans of fantasy fiction and Greek mythology as well. Give it a try, you are not going to be disappointed.

d
darladoodles
Aug 03, 2019

This rich tapestry of Greek myths has given me the opportunity to look at them through a new lens and I don't want to go back. Circe is the daughter of a titan and a nymph. Exiled to an island as a scapegoat. Yet, Madeline Miller still finds a way to showcase many well-known myths and stories in a new way through Circe. The happily-ever-after we imagined for those Greek heroes may not have been all we envisioned. Simply astounding and so beautifully written. The little girl in me who fell in love with the Greek gods and goddesses as a 3rd grader rejoices.

"For me, there was nothing. I would go on through the countless millennia, while everyone I met ran through my fingers and I was left with only those who were like me."

RomanceAddict Jul 30, 2019

Madeline Miller follows up her Orange Prize-winning debut, "The Song of Achilles", with another atmospheric, powerful story of the ancient gods of Greece and the mortals who dare to defy them. Miller's writing is descriptive, lyrical, and as poetic as the epic stories by Homer upon which she bases her books. The audio book is read by British voice talent Perdita Weeks, and she was an excellent choice as narrator.

Though a nymph, Circe has the voice and appearance of a human, and also the capacity for compassion like humans. She is not the cold, self-absorbed creature we see in the gods around her, and this is often used by those around her to exploit and abuse her. Unlike the sea nymph Thetis, the powerful and terrifying mother of Patroclus in "The Song of Achilles", Circe is mistaken for human by humans and overlooked by the gods. In this relative obscurity, she begins to hone the skill of witchcraft that will make mortals and gods alike fear her.

This book was rightfully the Book of the Month Club Book of the Year for 2018 and picked for many book clubs. If you haven't read "Circe", what are you waiting for? Consider this your invitation.

k
karlianna8807
Jul 30, 2019

LOVED this book! I could not put it down. I don't know a lot about mythology but I was captivated by the characters and story and found it easy to understand why they did what they did. Beautifully written.

k
kwsmith
Jul 28, 2019

We know the character Circe from Homer's *The Odyssey* which was written circa 8th century BC. According to Homer, Circe is a daughter of the powerful sun Titan Helios and Perse, a beautiful sea nymph. This book is Miller's imaginative re-telling of Circe's story. It's a very well written book, and Miller obviously loves her source material. I suppose this is Percy Jackson for adult women? Although I enjoyed reading Madeline Miller's Circe, I recall enjoying reading *The Odyssey* so much more.

p
patcarstensen
Jul 05, 2019

I read both Circe and Penelopiad this summer, both of which give an idea of what the Odyessey would be like if Homer had had an audience where women mattered. Now I would like to know Calypso's view of the story.

k
KatG1983
Jul 04, 2019

Circe is a compelling and expansive story, full of adventure. If you're into mythology in the slightest, Circe will entice you in and entertain you.

f
fionajay
Jun 03, 2019

Nominated for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019.

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Quotes

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m
m0mmyl00
Aug 12, 2019

Pg. 273 of the hardcover, “It is youth’s gift not to feel its debts.”
Pg. 311 of the hardcover, “But perhaps no parent can truly see their child. When we look we see only the mirror of our own faults.”

q
queensthief
Feb 12, 2019

But perhaps no parent can truly see their child. When we look we see only the mirror of our own faults.

j
jimg2000
Jan 26, 2019

WHEN I WAS BORN, the name for what I was did not exist. They called me nymph, assuming I would be like my mother and aunts and thousand cousins. Least of the lesser goddesses, our powers were so modest they could scarcely ensure our eternities. We spoke to fish and nurtured flowers, coaxed drops from the clouds or salt from the waves. That word, nymph, paced out the length and breadth of our futures. In our language, it means not just goddess, but bride.
===
See her arrange her dress so it drapes just so over her shoulders. I see her dab her fingers, glinting, in the water. I have seen her do a thousand such tricks a thousand times. My father always fell for them. He believed the world’s natural order was to please him.
===

Once when I was young I asked what mortals looked like. My father said, “You may say they are shaped like us, but only as the worm is shaped like the whale.” My mother had been simpler: like savage bags of rotten flesh.

j
jimg2000
Jan 26, 2019

“It is not fair,” I said. “It cannot be.” “Those are two different things , ” my grandmother said .
===
The slender dryads flowed out of their forests, and the stony reads ran down from their crags. My mother was there with her naiad sisters; the horse-shouldered river-gods crowded in beside the fish-White Sea-nymphs and their lords of salt. Even the great Titans came: my father, of course, and Oceanus, but also shape-shifting Proteus and Nares of the Sea; my aunt Selene, who drives her silver horses across the night sky; and the four Winds led by my icy uncle Boreas.
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Her cruelty springs fast as weeds and must any moment be cut again.
===
Circe is dull as a rock. Circe has less wit than bare ground. Circe’s hair is matted like a dog’s. If I have to hear that broken voice of hers once more. Of all our children, why must it be she who is left? No one else will have her.

j
jimg2000
Jan 26, 2019

What could make a god afraid? I knew that answer too. A power greater than their own.
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Helios flattered himself that all women went eager to his bed, slave girls and divinities alike. His altars smoked with the proof, offerings from big-bellied mothers and happy by-blows.
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“Circe,” he said, when he saw me. Just that, as if you might say: foot.
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All I knew was that I hated her. For I was like any dull ass who has ever loved someone who loved another.
===

===

“Pharmacies,” I said. Witch.
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“Sorcery cannot be taught. You find it yourself, or you do not. ”
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Even the most beautiful nymph is largely useless, and an ugly one would be nothing, less than nothing.
===

Too late for all the things I should have known. I had made so many mistakes that I could not find my way back through their tangle to the first one.
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Watching Zeus and Helios negotiate is always good entertainment. Like two volcanoes trying to decide if they should blow.

j
jimg2000
Jan 26, 2019

“Tell me,” he said, “who gives better offerings, a miserable man or a happy one?” “A happy one, of course.” “Wrong,” he said. “A happy man is too occupied with his life. He thinks he is beholden to no one. But make him shiver, kill his wife, cripple his child, then you will hear from him. He will starve his family for a month to buy you a pure - white yearling calf. If he can afford it, he will buy you a hundred. ” “But surely,” I said, “you have to reward him eventually. Otherwise, he will stop offering. ” “Oh, you would be surprised how long he will go on. But yes, in the end, it’s best to give him something. Then he will be happy again. And you can start over. ”
===
Most gods and mortals have lives that are tied to nothing; they tangle and wend now here, now there, according to no set plan. But then there are those who wear their destinies like nooses, whose lives run straight as planks, however they try to twist. It is these that our prophets may see.

j
jimg2000
Jan 26, 2019

This was how mortals found fame, I thought. Through practice and diligence, tending their skills like gardens until they glowed beneath the sun. But gods are born of ichor and nectar, their excellences already bursting from their fingertips. So they find their fame by proving what they can mar: destroying cities, starting wars, breeding plagues and monsters.
===

You see what a honeycomb the palace is beneath. There are a hundred storerooms that go unused, for all the wealth of Crete is in gold these days, not grain. I think I may make them into a sort of maze. Close it at both ends and let the creature roam. It is all dug in the bedrock, so there will be nowhere to break
===

For once in your twisting life, speak the truth. You brought me here to make me your fool. ” “Oh, that requires no effort from me,” she said. “ You are a fool on your own. ” But it was reflexive, not a real answer. I waited.

j
jimg2000
Jan 26, 2019

But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.
===
I pressed as close as he would let me, like a lizard to noonday rocks.
===
Rage and grief, thwarted desire, lust, self-pity: these are emotions gods know well. But guilt and shame, remorse, ambivalence, those are foreign countries to our kind, which must be learned stone by stone.
===

Every moment mortals died, by shipwreck and sword, by wild beasts and wild men, by illness, neglect, and age. It was their fate, as Prometheus had told me, the story that they all shared. No matter how vivid they were in life, no matter how brilliant, no matter the wonders they made, they came to dust and smoke.
===

Each of her features alone was nothing, her nose too sharp, and her chin over - strong. Yet together they made a whole like the heart of a flame.
===
How many of us would be granted pardon if our true hearts were known?

j
jimg2000
Jan 26, 2019

A man wants a wife like new grass, fresh and green. ”
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“A witch,” I said. “With unbound power. Who need answer to none but herself? ”
===
Sons were not punished.
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After so long amid only the smooth sameness of nymphs, each imperfection was a pleasure: the lines around their eyes, the scabs on their legs, the fingers broken off at the knuckle. I drank in their threadbare clothes, their worn faces. These were not heroes, or the crew of a king. They must scrabble for their livelihoods as Glaucous once did: hauling nets, carrying odd cargo, hunting down whatever dinner they could find. I felt a warmth run through me. My fingers itched as if for needle and thread. Here was something torn that I could mend.

j
jimg2000
Jan 26, 2019

Maybe the true surprise, I thought, was that it had not happened sooner. My uncles’ eyes used to crawl over me as I poured their wine. Their hands found their way to my flesh. A pinch, a stroke, a hand slipping under the sleeve of my dress. They all had wives, it was not marriage they thought of. One of them would have come for me in the end and paid my father well. Honor on all sides.
===

Give me the honest asp, who strikes me if I trouble him and not before.
===
You should appreciate a pig’s advantages. Mud - slick and swift, they are hard to catch. Low to the ground, they cannot easily be knocked over. They are not like dogs, they do not need your love. They can thrive anywhere, on anything, scraps and trash. They look witless and dull, which lulls their enemies, but they are clever. They will remember your face. They never listened. The truth is, men make terrible pigs.

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m
muchai
May 20, 2019

muchai thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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