I reviewed Madeline Miller’s upcoming novel, #Circe, at PopMatters. She was a minor goddess and exiled sorceress in Homer’s Odyssey and, here, she tells us her own version. Madeline Miller gave us the breathtaking ‘The Song of Achilles’ as a new version of the Trojan War and now we have this fascinating account. I’m looking forward to what she writes next.
Miller’sCirceis not exactly the entire Odyssey retold from a new point of view.The novel is indeed a response to the myth of Odysseus because, through Circe, we see the hero very differently. This is definitely Circe’s story — one that has had various conflicting versions over time — with the Odyssey as the backdrop, or the side-show. Mostly, she has been portrayed throughout art as a jealous, malignant witch who transforms others into monsters or animals through her potions. Here, we get a somewhat different story of her growth into her powers as a witch or sorceress and her awareness of what they mean to her and others around her. As the plot advances, Circe’s frame of reference evolves due to her experiences with visitors from both the worlds of the gods and the mortals, her complex relationships with them, and the stories they share casually.