Hello! I've fallen way too behind on book blogging lately, but I read Circe a few weeks ago and I legitimately cannot stop thinking about it.
Madeline Miller gives Circe, the witch that Odysseus encounters on his journey, her own story. As Chelsea Leu puts it in Electric Literature, "Even the bare sketches we get of Circe in The Odyssey already outline a potential feminist icon: a witchy woman who lives alone, turning men into pigs. Miller’s Circe, fully fleshed-out, is a towering, passionate figure whose life seems to be an unceasing stream of men failing her..."
What I loved about Circe is the reclamation of female narrative. She stands solidly at the center of her own tale, and it is told from start to finish. Miller explains, “I [am] really interested in those untold stories...why is she turning men into pigs? She’s so often portrayed as villainous, but once she and Odysseus come to an understanding, she ends up being one of the most helpful deities he encounters. I always thought she got a bad rap. Who was she really?” And she conjures up who she thinks Circe is, bringing in familiar and unfamiliar characters from Greek mythology.
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." It truly was epic; I knew nothing about Circe, and finished the book in love with her. Miller brought this ancient witch to life, and I am so grateful.