I finally read one of the books everyone has been recommending to me since the moment it came out, and while I think the writing was breath-takingly beautiful, it took me over a week to listen to because the pacing was just not swift. However, I’m so glad I read it and the final chapter was almost worth it for me. Circe by Madeline Miller was also the final book club selection for the Shakespeare Theatre here in DC and Miller came to talk about mythology as part of a discussion for The Oresteia,so that was my impetus for reading it when I did. Also, I got a deal on it on Audible.
Circe tells the story of the goddess Circe, born to Helios,and her journey. We see things from her point of view, the same stories told in The Odyssey and other mythologies, but we also get much more. We get a look at her childhood growing up, her exile, her turning Scylla, her meeting Odysseus, her helping bring the Minotaur into the world, her own torturous birthing experience, and hr final moments with her final lover (no spoilers here,because I totally didn’t realize this part of the mythology and it threw me for a loop). The writing is seriously beautiful, though. I cannot rave about it enough. Lyrical, haunting, so precisely well-done.
The pacing however, didn’t draw me in. I don’t know how it could have been better though,honestly. It’s hard to pace at a clip when you’re a basically immortal goddess who lives forever and years and days mean nothing in the long-run. Sure, I felt like we spent way too long on her own childhood and then breezed through years at a time other places, but I don’t know how else to get to the good stuff and build up backstory. Nonetheless, the writing kept me hooked and I appreciate it as a beautiful retelling that imbibes power into a woman often written off or depicted poorly in the mythology.