When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.
Circe is the daughter of Helios, the sun god, and Perse, a beautiful naiad. Yet from the moment of her birth, she is an outsider in her father's halls, where the laughter of gossiping gods resounds. Named after a hawk for her yellow eyes and strange voice, she is mocked by her siblings – until her beloved brother Aeëtes is born.
Yet after her sister Pasiphae marries King Midas of Crete, Aeëtes is whisked away to rule his own island. More isolated than ever, Circe, who has never been divine enough for her family, becomes increasingly drawn to mortals – and when she meets Glaucus, a handsome young fisherman, she is captivated. Yet gods mingle with humans, and meddle with fate, at their peril.
In Circe, Madeline Miller breathes life once more into the ancient world, with the story of an outcast who overcomes scorn and banishment to transform herself into a formidable witch. Unfolding on Circe's wild, abundant island of Aiaia, where the hillsides are aromatic with herbs, this is a magical, intoxicating epic of family rivalry, power struggles, love and loss – and a celebration of female strength in a man's world.
About the Author
Madeline Miller is the author of The Song of Achilles, which won the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012, was shortlisted for the Stonewall Writer of the Year 2012, was an instant New York Times bestseller, and was translated into twenty-five languages. Madeline holds an MA in Classics from Brown University, and she taught Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students for over a decade.
She has also studied at the University of Chicago's Committee on Social Thought, and at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms. Her essays have appeared in publications including the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Lapham's Quarterly and NPR. She lives outside Philadelphia.
“Only the finest of historical novelists are able to adequately convey the sheer strangeness and otherness of the past, particularly the ancient past … Remarkably fresh”
“Miller's prose is more poetic than almost any translation of Homer … Deeply affecting”
“Not least of Miller's achievements is to reanimate this vision of the divine in prose that is simultaneously modern and true to its source”
Tom Holland, New Statesman
“Page-turning … Nothing strikes a false note in her intricately created world”
“Extraordinary … As great a retelling of Homer's epic Iliad as you will find”