Circe – Madeline Miller

My rating 8/10. Link to book.

I love the ancient mythical stories. I grew up on them. The Norwegian culture has its own stories with the Norse gods, but I’ve always been attracted to the Greek and Roman mythological universe.

Its drama at its finest. Its power plays and a unhealthy dose of bestiality – what more can one want?

In Circe, Madeline retells the story of Circe a daughter of Helios in spectacular fashion. The prose is fantastic. The Greek stories have been told and retold so many times that the storyline is audience vetted and incredible.

The book gives deep insight to the characters and their motivations, something that some other similar books does not. She paints a beautiful picture and gives

I started her first book The Song of Achilles straight after I finished Circe. So far they are equally good and a solid recommendation from me.


For other similar books, look to Stephen Frys Mythos and Heroes or Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. They are modern retellings of the myths whereas Circe reads as a complete story.


Some highlights

“I had no right to claim him, I know it. 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.”

“He showed me his scars, and in return he let me pretend that I had none.”

“He liked the way the obsidian reflected his light, the way its slick surfaces caught fire as he passed. Of course, he did not consider how black it would be when he was gone. My father has never been able to imagine the world without himself in it.”

“It is a common saying that women are delicate creatures, flowers, eggs, anything that may be crushed in a moment’s carelessness. If I had ever believed it, I no longer did.”

“I thought once that gods are the opposite of death, but I see now they are more dead than anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands.”

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

“You are wise,” he said.
“If it is so,” I said, “it is only because I have been fool enough for a hundred lifetimes.”

“I asked her how she did it once, how she understood the world so clearly. She told me that it was a matter of keeping very still and showing no emotions, leaving room for others to reveal themselves.”