— Madeline Miller, Circe
Big Read Lakeshore 2022 Book
The Hero's Journey
“Only that: we are here. This is what it means to swim in the tide, to walk the earth and feel it touch your feet. This is what it means to be alive.”
With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man's world.
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child--not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power--the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.
But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
About The Author
Madeline Miller grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. She has taught and tutored Latin, Greek, and Shakespeare to high school students for over fifteen years.
She has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms.
The Song of Achilles, her first novel, was awarded the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction and was a New York Times Bestseller. Miller was also shortlisted for the 2012 Stonewall Writer of the Year. Her second novel, Circe, was an instant number 1 New York Times bestseller, and won the Indies Choice Best Adult Fiction of the Year Award and the Indies Choice Best Audiobook of the Year Award, as well as being shortlisted for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction. Circe also won The Red Tentacle Award, an American Library Association Alex Award (adult books of special interest to teen readers), and the 2018 Elle Big Book Award. It is currently being adapted for a series with HBO Max. Miller’s novels have been translated into over twenty-five languages including Dutch, Mandarin, Japanese, Turkish, Arabic and Greek, and her essays have appeared in a number of publications including the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Telegraph, Lapham’s Quarterly and NPR.org. She currently lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“An epic spanning thousands of years that’s also a keep-you-up-all-night page turner.”
— Ann Patchett
“A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess’s story that manages to be both epic and intimate in its scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right.”
— The New York Times
“Think a novel based on Greek mythology isn’t for you? Just wait. Miller’s spell builds slowly, but by the last page you’ll be in awe. In prose of dreamlike simplicity, she reimagines the myth of Circe, the sun god’s unloved daughter who went on to invent witchcraft and enchant Homer’s Odysseus. The ancient stories and characters are reshaped by truths that modern women can finally speak about sisterhood and sexism, rape and rage, and most exquisitely, motherhood.”
“Luminous. . . Deft and compassionate. . . A compelling and engagingly feminist piece of ancient fantasy. . . Readers who know the source stories already will delight in the craft of Miller’s quietly revisionist amendments to these well-worn tales. . . But Circe is also a brilliantly strange work of mythic science fiction, as effortlessly expressive within the palaces of gods as it is about the world below. . . This is both a fabulous novel and a fascinating retelling; the best compliment, perhaps, that any myth could hope for.”
— Daily Telegraph
“Miller’s lush, gold-lit novel — told from the perspective of the witch whose name in Greek has echoes of a hawk and a weaver’s shuttle — paints another picture: of a fierce goddess who, yes, turns men into pigs, but only because they deserve it. . . The character of Circe only occupies a few dozen lines of [The Odyssey], but Miller extracts worlds of meaning from Homer’s short phrases.”