Book Review: Circe

Madeline Miller’s follow-up novel to The Song of Achilles uses a wealth of sources to tell a compelling and accessible tale of Greek mythology’s legendary sea witch, Circe.

In 2012, Madeline Miller won the Orange Prize for Fiction with her debut novel, The Song of Achilles, an inventive and evocative exploration of Greek myths and legends. Six years later, Miller returns with a new character plucked from (nearby) the Pantheon.

Circe unravels the mystery around the legendary sea witch of the same name. Spanning hundreds of years, we follow Circe from her childhood in the halls of her father (the Titan Helios) to her exile and adventures therein. Through her long life wander familiar characters – Odysseus, Hermes, Athena – as well as lesser known gods and mortals.

Circe’s story has never been fully or consistently told, and in this novel Miller brings together references from a range of sources and fills the gaps with vivid, compelling detail and great emotional depth.

Enjoyment of Circe doesn’t depend on an encyclopaedic knowledge of Greek mythology; Circe’s story stands on its own, as does she, in the end.

Author: Madeline Miller
Publisher: Bloomsbury

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