Book review time! Read: Circe
So, I thought that it would be lame to give my first ever proper review 5 stars – but seriously 5 stars. There is absolutely nothing I would change. Nothing.
I’m going to say something unforgivable now and admit that I’d never heard of Madeline Miller when I saw Circe on the shelves. An internal tug-of-war ensued. You see, I love Greek myths and studied Classical Civilizations in university, but the novels I’ve read about myths… I’m not quite sure what was going on in the mid-nineties, but when I picked up books called Persephone and such when I was a kid, by people like Doris Vallejo, there was talk of ‘throbbing manhoods’ and ‘between the thighs’ and I was, needless to say, traumatized.
When I began reading it was immediately, magnificently, the thing I’ve been looking for all these years: something accurate and factual about Greek myths that was actually written well. And when I say ‘well’ I mean that clichéd word: spellbinding.
Author Diane Johnston once said that a poet can ‘take screwy words and put them together to make them fizz’. Well, in that case, Miller is a poet. This is just one of her superb descriptions:
“Otter-sleek, laughing, their faces bright against the dusky air... in their midst, outshining all that lily beauty, sat my mother."
… Can’t you just taste it?
So yeah, 5 stars. I would not change anything. For me this is even better than The Song of Achilles, which I immediately read after this. People have been saying it’s a feminist take on the Odyssey. For me, it’s so much more. It’s a thing of beauty, paying homage to beautiful myths before it in an honoring way, and an anthem of humanity riffing on the most inhuman species of all: goddesses.