Author – and Pennsylvania native – Madeline Miller visits Midtown Scholar in Harrisburg on Wednesday, May 23 to discuss her new novel, Circe.
The novel follows Circe, goddess of magic and daughter of the Titan of the Sun Helios, as she grows up in a world full of gods, goddesses, titans, and monsters. Through Circe’s eyes, we see her encounters with some of the most well-known mythological characters and the roles she plays in their narratives.
A turning point of Circe’s story is her confrontation with Zeus, which ultimately results in her exile from her home. It’s through this experience that Circe really grows into the “evil” persona she is typically known for in other mythological stories: a vengeful witch who punishes those who have spurned her (most notably transforming men into pigs).
But, Circe is not just another mythical fable. Miller’s retelling takes readers into Circe’s head as she confronts the beauty and power around her and comes into her own as a strong sorceress. It’s a rich and complex story – a sort of modern and feminist epic, really – documenting the goddess’ metamorphosis from bullied child to powerful enchantress who uses her knowledge and skills to overcome the evil or challenges in her way. Miller rounds the sharp edges Circe is so often portrayed with in other stories, coloring her with empathy and bravery.
Circe has been wildly successful with both readers and critics. It debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list, and came in at #1 in just its second week on the hardcover fiction list. The New York Times and The Washington Post have praised the book for its fresh approach to traditional Greek mythology.
If you enjoyed Circe, check out Miller’s debut novel, The Song of Achilles. The book won an Orange Prize for Fiction in 2012.
An Evening with Madeline Miller runs 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23 at Midtown Scholar.