Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe is the second novel by Madeline Miller, published in 2018. As soon as it was published, Circe became a real bestseller according to the New York Times. The novel also won numerous prizes, like his first novel “The Song of Achilles”. These two novels, translated into many languages, plunge us into the fascinating world of mythology, a world dear to Madeline Miller, who teaches Latin and Greek in high school in the United States. The novel Circe is currently being adapted for a series with HBO Max.


Through her novel, Madeline Miller highlights a female mythological character considered secondary: Circe. Circe, meaning “bird of prey” is a powerful magician. From birth, she finds herself neglected by her parents, judging her not beautiful enough to be integrated on Mount Olympus. Invisible and insignificant, it then occupies a special place. Indeed, daughter of a God and a mortal, she is at the crossroads between the divine world and the human world.


In an intimate narrative, the novel tells the story of a singular woman in a quest for identity. We follow its evolution, step by step. Between hardships and encounters, Circe discovers herself, surpasses herself and tries to trace her own destiny. She makes her gift, which she draws from herself and from the heart of nature, her true strength. On this island, she leaves her status as a naive young girl to become a woman, a goddess and then a mother. As her destiny progresses, she evolves. She manages to defy her own father, to disobey Athena in order to protect her son. We are far from the image of the unruly child and the infamous witch that we find all too often. Through this novel, she embodies the woman, between freedom and independence.

With the figure of Circe, Madeline Miller offers a profound reflection on the condition of women within a society. Between epic momentum and lyrical prose, Circe is then a true feminist novel. Circe appears as a rebellious witch who takes her destiny into her own hands, regardless of the trials and obstacles that will cross her path.


Maud Jaquet



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