Our book group will be reading “Circe” by Madeline Miller Wednesday January 23rd at 6:30pm. Pick up a copy in the library today!
‘Circe’ Gives The Witch Of The Odyssey A New Life
by Annalisa Quinn
“Later, years later, I would hear a song made of our meeting,” says the hero of Madeleine Miller’s Circe, of her romance with the mortal Odysseus. Circe is referring to Homer’s version of the story, in which Odysseus arrives on her island sea-battered and mourning for his men killed by the cruel Laestrygonians. Circe entraps his remaining men and turns them into pigs. But Odysseus, with the help of the god Hermes, tricks Circe and makes her beg for mercy before becoming her lover.
“I was not surprised by the portrait of myself,” Circe says, “the proud witch undone before the hero’s sword, kneeling and begging for mercy. Humbling women seems to me a chief pastime for poets. As if there can be no story unless we crawl and weep.”
Miller’s lush, gold-lit novel — told from the perspective of the witch whose name in Greek has echoes of a hawk and a weaver’s shuttle — paints another picture: of a fierce goddess who, yes, turns men into pigs, but only because they deserve it.