Circe, by Madeline Miller. Book report #7 (2020)

Circe, by Madeline Miller. Pub 2018

It is a testament to how gripping this book is that I finished it in 2 days. The story is a wonderful tale of a character central to Greek mythology and legend, but seen primarily as being on the fringes. Circe was literally on the fringes, in exile for much of the story but so rarely alone, and both witness to and driver of many familiar tales from that era. The author constructs locations and people with intimate detail, and makes the world of witchcraft and monsters and gods engaging and stirring.

Historical fictions can sometimes make their heroes and heroines almost unbelievably central to history itself. How could modern man exist without the Ayla from Clan of the Cave Bear? Of course, such significant European histories hinge on the romances of the Outlander and her dashing Scotsman. The central characters in those stories are unbelievably beautiful, handsome, smart, brave and lucky (made less believable as the volumes go on). Even as an immortal, Circe is believable in her actions and her world grounded, even with magic and gods all around. Her trials with isolation and alienation, single motherhood, troublesome families, and assault are depicted honestly and (I think) historically accurately.

7 – a book by a female author
10 – a referral by another book club member
12 – a book set in a place I’ve never been (Greece, Turkey, etc.)
13 – a book with a name in the title
18 – a book chosen for me by another book club member
19 – a book with a one word title
24 – a book by an author I’ve never read

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