A NovelBook - 2018
From Library Staff
"Circe is a bold and subversive retelling of the goddess' story that manages to be both epic and intimate in scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right." Winner of the 2019 Indie Choice Award.
It took some time for me to get into this book (the abuse and sexual assault were especially upsetting), but once Circe got some distance from her family and bloomed into her own person, it was enthralling. The writing is gorgeous, and Miller breathes new life and complexity into these ancient ch... Read More »
WCLSAdults Oct 25, 2018
From the critics
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Humbling women seems to me a chief pastime of poets. As if there can be no story unless we crawl and weep.
He showed me his scars, and in return he Let me pretend that I had none.
But most of all my father’s voice, speaking those words like trash he dropped. Such as you. Any other day in all my years of life I would have curled upon myself and wept. But that day his scorn was like a spark falling on dry tinder.
“You have always been the worst of my children,” he said. “Be sure to not dishonor me.”
“I have a better idea. I will do as I please, and when you count your children, leave me out.”
“Humbling women seems to me a chief pastime of poets. As if there can be no story unless we crawl and weep.”
“But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.”
Pg. 273 of the hardcover, “It is youth’s gift not to feel its debts.”
Pg. 311 of the hardcover, “But perhaps no parent can truly see their child. When we look we see only the mirror of our own faults.”
WHEN I WAS BORN, the name for what I was did not exist. They called me nymph, assuming I would be like my mother and aunts and thousand cousins. Least of the lesser goddesses, our powers were so modest they could scarcely ensure our eternities. We spoke to fish and nurtured flowers, coaxed drops from the clouds or salt from the waves. That word, nymph, paced out the length and breadth of our futures. In our language, it means not just goddess, but bride.
See her arrange her dress so it drapes just so over her shoulders. I see her dab her fingers, glinting, in the water. I have seen her do a thousand such tricks a thousand times. My father always fell for them. He believed the world’s natural order was to please him.
Once when I was young I asked what mortals looked like. My father said, “You may say they are shaped like us, but only as the worm is shaped like the whale.” My mother had been simpler: like savage bags of rotten flesh.
“It is not fair,” I said. “It cannot be.” “Those are two different things , ” my grandmother said .
The slender dryads flowed out of their forests, and the stony reads ran down from their crags. My mother was there with her naiad sisters; the horse-shouldered river-gods crowded in beside the fish-White Sea-nymphs and their lords of salt. Even the great Titans came: my father, of course, and Oceanus, but also shape-shifting Proteus and Nares of the Sea; my aunt Selene, who drives her silver horses across the night sky; and the four Winds led by my icy uncle Boreas.
Her cruelty springs fast as weeds and must any moment be cut again.
Circe is dull as a rock. Circe has less wit than bare ground. Circe’s hair is matted like a dog’s. If I have to hear that broken voice of hers once more. Of all our children, why must it be she who is left? No one else will have her.
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