Sometimes even amongst the Gods one feels an outcast.
Circe was born a Goddess never to be one of them it seems, for what she lacked in titanic cruelty and supernatural powers she made up for in an empathy alien to her kind.
Maybe she was just too human, she did sound like one after all. Not that her father Helios, God of the sun knew when she was first born, but still, he marked her with his words on her first day on earth so all knew that her destiny would be unremarkable.
She would never receive it from her parents or siblings, but Circe knew how to love and be compassionate even if misplaced. Unbeknownst to her, it is those misplaced feelings in the human Glaucos that will be the catalyst to her downfall. A pleasing outcome for Helios as Circe’s exile enables him to maintain the peace with the Olympian Gods and punish Circe for using witchcraft against her own people, powers she discovers she inherited from her naiad mother Perse.
Her exile to the island of Aiaia marks the end of her life amongst the Gods but also the beginning of a new one. Her island becomes her armour; there she is nurtured while she nurtures Aiaia in return. It takes centuries, but she grows into her powers. There she defies the Gods, she hates humans and she also loves them. There she becomes who she really is meant to be.
Not as prominent as all the Greek Gods and song worthy warriors we are familiar with, but it is in this tale that Madeline Miller gives Circe a voice, elevating her amongst the great ancient stories worthy of retelling. A prose beautifully written reading like poetry in some places, you will be taken on a truly epic journey.
Easily one of my favourite reads this year.
Thanking Team @BloomsburyBooks for provided me with an advanced copy of the title