You know what they say: timing is everything. And the same goes for books! Some books become hits not just because of their story, but because they hit that sweet spot where the story perfectly aligns with what the audience is looking for. It’s like when you bite into a perfectly ripe strawberry and it’s just the right amount of sweet – that’s what “Circe” by Madeline Miller is like for readers.
Interestingly enough, “Circe” was published on Valentine’s Day, which was a stroke of genius marketing because even though the book isn’t your typical sappy romance, it does explore themes of love and passion in a unique way.
The novel tells the story of Circe, the daughter of Helios, the god of the sun, and a nymph named Perse. Circe is a misfit among her fellow immortals, but she discovers her love for witchcraft and mortals. When she angers her father by turning a mortal man into a god, she is banished to the island of Aeaea.
Circe creates a sanctuary on Aeaea for exiled women and encounters famous mythological figures like Odysseus, who becomes her lover. Throughout the book, she struggles with finding her place in the world and coming to terms with her immortality. But in the end, she learns to embrace her power and carve out her own path in the world.
Historical novels, especially ones set in ancient times, usually have a specific niche audience. But “Circe” has become a phenomenon, transcending its genre and captivating readers of all kinds.
Here are 7 reasons why “Circe” is the perfect book for this day and age:
#1 – Feminist Perspective.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement and other feminist movements, there is a growing interest in stories that challenge traditional gender roles and highlight the experiences of women.
Circe is a powerful female character who defies the expectations of her society, and Miller’s portrayal of her encourages readers to question gender norms and biases that still exist in our society.
#2 – Reimagining of a Classic Myth.
Our world is full of stories that are retold, reimagined, and updated to fit new cultural contexts and perspectives.
Miller’s retelling of the story of Circe offers a fresh take on a classic myth, showing how these stories can be updated to speak to modern readers and help us connect with our ancient roots.
#3 – Themes of Power and Identity.
In an era where identity politics and power struggles dominate the political landscape, “Circe” explores the themes of power and identity nuancedly, encouraging readers to consider their own relationships to these issues.
This is particularly relevant at a time when we’re seeing major shifts in power dynamics around the world, and where people are grappling with their own sense of identity in a rapidly changing society.
#4 – Strong Female Characters.
We still live in a time where the representation of women in media and popular culture is still limited, it is refreshing to encounter a book like “Circe” that features a range of complex, multidimensional female characters.
By seeing women in these roles, readers are encouraged to expand their own ideas of what women are capable of.
#5 – Timeless Themes.
Although “Circe” is set in ancient Greece, its themes are universal and still relevant today.
The book explores love, loss, power, identity, and many other issues that are part of the human experience, regardless of time or place.
#6 – Exploration of Human Nature
In an increasingly polarized and divided world, there is a growing need to understand and empathize with people whose experiences and beliefs differ from ours.
“Circe” offers a nuanced exploration of human nature
#7 – Unconventional Protagonist.
Circe is not the typical protagonist one might expect in a retelling of a Greek myth. By centring the story around an unconventional protagonist like Circe, Miller offers a new perspective on the traditional hero’s journey. Circe is flawed, complex, and often at odds with the world around her, which makes her a more relatable and realistic character than many other mythic heroes.
In conclusion – “Circe” is a book that offers something for everyone. With its strong female characters, universal themes, and beautiful writing, it is a compelling and thought-provoking read that hits all the points that would trigger readers to go and buy it. It’s a fantastic example of how a good story can also be commercial and thus successful.
Now it’s YOUR turn – What do you think makes this book unique compared to others you’ve read in the same genre?
Would love to get your input in the comment box below.