Sorcha Rose McGroarty
After bringing us the fantastic retelling of the story of Achillies and Patroclus in her bestseller, “Song of Achilles,” Madeline Miller has once again made readers laugh, cry and think in her newest novel, Circe.
Circe is a modern retelling of the story of the minor Greek Goddess and witch, Circe. Being the novel’s namesake, we follow her story in the first-person perspective, moving between present tense and past tense, memorialising the story of this fantastic mythological woman.
Beginning in the halls of her father, Helios’s home, we follow Circe as she grows from a young goddess to a woman. The daughter of the sun god Helios and a naiad, Circe guides us through the mythological world. Explaining the place of nymphs such as herself in her Godly society, how mortals are viewed by Gods and the place of outcasts such as herself. When she eventually meets her fate of exile, we continue to see her grow and develop from the young girl she once was into the woman she becomes. Tackling loneliness, displacement, rejection and grief.
This novel is a must read for any young classist and all who are obsessed with mythology. Maddeline Millers beautiful retelling depicts the ancient Greek world in a way we so often overlook. Gods are characterised as flawed and complicated beings, mortals are unique in each of their own ways, and throughout the novel we are4 faced with questions of human mortality.
The novel is much slower paced following with much greater focus on character development and deeply interesting people than the semblance of plot we see throughout the novel. The story takes its time to envelope you in each character instead of rushing the process. The result is lifelike characters who still take the shape of the history they come from.
All in all, this novel is utterly fantastic and everything I could have wanted from it in the beginning. Tackling grief, love, loneliness and rejection over the span of thousands of years, while still maintaining its philosophical side. Circe by Madeline Miller is an absolute work of art, and a must read for anyone interested in Greek mythology.