Friday, January 22, 2021

Circe by Madeline Miller

One of the highest compliments I can give this book is that it reminded me my favorite novels, Till We Have Faces, to mind. That’s unfair, as the books are vastly different in point of view and theme. But I haven’t read any literary retelling of myth that came close to holding up to Faces until this. It is outstanding.

It is narrated by the titular demigoddess/witch. It starts with her early life in the court of her father the Titan Helios and carries it past her affair with Odysseus. Along the way it hits the myths of Daedalus and Icarus, Scylla and Charybdis and others. 

One thing I loved about it is how it reframes Circe's turning of sailors into pigs as a defensive move. This was like seeing Noah and realizing that if I had seen EVERYONE in the world die, I might want to get drunk to blunt the PTSD too. Something that was obvious once I saw it, but that I had missed every previous time I'd thought about it.

I don’t have much to say about this other than it was a transcendent reading experience that will stick with me for a while. The prose is perfect, as is the mood of loneliness it evokes. I will be reading this many more times, I’m sure. And anything else Miller writes.

Canon Worthy

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