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The Gods Have Returned in Circe

Updated on June 5, 2018
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Avid reader and writer, sustained by a carefully nurtured coffee habit.

The Odyssey

You remember the story of Odysseus, right?

It began with a woman he had sworn to defend, and a call to arms that had him attempt to prove he had lost his mind so he wouldn't have to go. An oracle had told him that if he went to war it would be a long time before he returned. But his ruse is exposed and he is thrown into The Trojan War. Favoured by the Goddess Athena for his cunning and intellect, Odysseus was good at war.

It would take him ten years to get home, as chronicled in The Odyssey, and he would encounter many obstacles before he would be able to return and reclaim his throne and rightful place as King.

But when he landed on an island, far from home and with a ship full of exhausted and worn-out men, he encountered the witch Circe and stayed for a year.

Circe by Madeline Miller

In Circe, you'll find out how Odysseus spent that year and so much more. How she grew up in the halls of the Gods, how her brothers and sisters, mother and father, thought of her. The life of a goddess child, without the voice of her Nymph mother, or any perceivable powers. With golden eyes, she would look at the world around her and fall in love with mortals.

And it would be a mortal that led her to her true power. When she cast a dark spell Zeus would banish her to a remote island. Where she would finally discover how much power she truly had.

From books to eBooks, The Odyssey is the story of Odysseus' journey home. And Circe is the story of the witch he spent a year on an island with.
From books to eBooks, The Odyssey is the story of Odysseus' journey home. And Circe is the story of the witch he spent a year on an island with.

"I would say, some people are like constellations that only touch the earth for a season."

— Madeline Miller, Circe

A Beautifully Written Tale

The writing has a beauty all of its own, the flow and rhythm keep you turning the page almost as much as the desire to know what comes next. Without complication it allows you to move through the story as if you were there with the characters, watching their every move and open to the possibility that the Gods might smile down on you just for reading.

There is a warmth to the writing that conjures up images of warm beaches and foamy waves. An eternity on an island in a book.

Eager to learn what else Madeline Miller had written I discovered two more tales.

More by Madeline Miller

  • The Song of Achilles A retelling of the Trojan War through the eyes of Achilles lover and friend. A love story, an adventure, and a tale of Gods and Kings.
  • Galatea is the story of a skilled marble sculptor blessed by a goddess. And his wife, Galatea, who was a sculptor brought to life by the goddess. Expected to be obedient and show humility she uses her beauty to manipulate and ends up locked away by her husband. But in order to rescue her daughter, she must break free.

Where will your next book take you?


Sorcery cannot be taught. You find it yourself, or you do not.

— ― Madeline Miller, Circe

Gods and Monsters and Mortals

One of my favourite things, when I was a kid, was the monsters in movies. The stop-gap animation and the wild creatures that just didn't exist in real life. The Cyclops, the Centar, the Creatures from the Deep, and the Skeletons that rose from the graves to fight the Hero. All those magical scenarios and impossible dreams on the screen in front of you, in stories like Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Sinbad Sails the Seven Seas, Jason and the Argonauts, and Clash of the Titans that never seem to be brought back to life with the same passion in the remakes.

And this is what I love about Circe, the book has a way of taking you back to those movies. Those rainy Sunday afternoons you spent in front of the television watching old movies. The Gods and Monsters are there and they're believable. The heroes are there too, but they're not always who you think.

The sound of the ocean, the taste of the fruit, even the creek of the wood of the deck, are waiting for you in Circe. But best of all, there is a love story that spans centuries and all the pleasure and pain, disappointment and joy that brings.

Which Book's Next?


© 2018 Cathy Hewitt


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