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Circe

Written by: Madeline Miller
Narrated by: Perdita Weeks
Length: 12 hrs and 8 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (654 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The daring, dazzling and highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times best seller The Song of Achilles 

One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018

"An epic spanning thousands of years that's also a keep-you-up-all-night page turner." (Ann Patchett)

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child - not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring, like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power - the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves. 

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur; Daedalus and his doomed son, Icarus; the murderous Medea; and, of course, wily Odysseus. 

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from or the mortals she has come to love. 

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and pause-resisting suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, and love and loss as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man's world. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 Madeline Miller (P)2018 Hachette Audio

What the critics say

"With sumptuous writing and descriptive imagery you'll see these gods and men and every being in between as you've never imagined them before." (Esquire)

"Madeline Miller, master storyteller, conjures Circe glowing and alive - and makes the Gods, nymphs and heroes of ancient Greece walk forth in all their armored splendor. Richly detailed and written with such breathtaking command of story, you will be held enchanted. A breathtaking novel." (Helen Simonson, author of The Summer Before the War and Major Pettigrew's Last Stand)

"With lyric beauty of language and melancholy evocative of Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn", Circe asks all the big questions of existence while framing them in the life story of the famous goddess who had the magic of transformations. A veritable Who's Who of the gods of Olympus and the heroes of ancient Greece, Circe knows them all and we see them through her perceptive eyes. This is as close as you will ever come to entering the world of mythology as a participant. Stunning, touching, and unique." (Margaret George, author of The Confessions of Young Nero)

"Author Madeline Miller and narrator Perdita Weeks transform the ancient Greek drama of Circe, witch of Aeaea and daughter of Helios, into a fresh and vibrant tale for contemporary listeners.... Weeks's cool British intonations and attuned performance capture Circe's evolution from youthful uncertainty amid scorn from richly characterized fellow deities to a confidence earned from centuries of island exile. Her first-person perspective creates intimacy as she engages fabled figures, such as Odysseus and Athena, and grapples with the pleasures and dangers of everyday life." (AudioFile)

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Fascinating story, expertly read

It's all in the headline - a fascinating story and expertly read. From the moment I started, I couldn't stop listening! Captivating.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic

This story is so good. As is the narration. I loved it and was sad when it was over. I am hope more from both the Author and Narrator soon! Circe is a great story of magic, wonder, love, greed, finding yourself and the question of what life is all about. It's set a new interest in me about Greek mythology. #Audible1

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Incredible Story

I could barely put this down. A fantastic retelling of myths rarely told from a woman's point of view. A fantastic performance in addition to everything else.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Madeline Miller is now one of my favourite authors

I had literal shivers as the narrator spoke the last few sentences of the novel. I had fallen in love with Madeline Miller’s beautiful writing in Song of Achilles, and after Circe I had fallen even deeper in love with it. It has this calm,smooth, melodic feeling to it like an ancient poem spun into life. It amazes me how Madeline can carve out living breathing characters out of mythological figures with such realism.

Wonderful narrator, in my opinion, the perfect one for this novel. I did listen to it at 0.8-0.9 speed as it is my preference. Would highly recommend for anyone who enjoys great writing, and especially if you’re interested in Greek mythology at all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing

Madeline Miller managed to breath fresh life into a story I already knew. The narrator was perfect for this book and so I give this five stars all the way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Awesome modern take on a classical story.

As a fan of the Odyssey I loved this book, but think people who aren't into Greek classics would like it too. In the old story Circe is a beautiful which who turns men into pigs.

Miller's Circe is a wonderfully human goddess; vulnerable and cunning who struggles with her own destiny in the high stakes world of Greek gods and goddesses. The book wonderfully captures the fancies and tantrums of immortal gods that make the old Greek originals so interesting. But it shows also Circe as an ignored sister, caring mother and disobedient daughter that any modern reader could identify with, feel for and admire.

Perdita Weeks is an amazing narrator; easy to listen to and so expressive. Too bad there aren't more books featuring her.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • A
  • 2019-07-14

great expansion of Greek literature

just like the song of Achilles Miller again brings a book which expands on characters and themes from classical mythology. the way she gives depth to these characters and, possibly changes how we view their actions (Odysseus) is really clever. overall a highly enjoyable read.

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  • cc
  • 2019-07-05

compelling and relaxing

easy to listen to and hard to put down. This book has many references that make for an interesting read. The voice was as smooth as silk and very convincing in all genders.

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A perfect match of brilliant text and narration

This book moved me deeply with its insights into families and wonderful depiction of women's quiet power in the unfair world of Gods and men.

The narrator is excellent and well suited to the subject. There is no need to know the source material to enjoy this.

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Delightful

Such a piece of art. The author paints beautifully with her words. Fast paced story but not overwhelming. Captivating and engaging. Beautifully read as well.
I cannot wait to see more by this author.

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  • Michael - Audible Editor
  • 2018-04-11

Refined writing with an intimate performance

I don't know why this book had such a profound effect on me, but it was unlike anything else I've listened to so far. I don't consider myself a mythology nerd, but looking at books I've listened to in the past (Norse Mythology, Fifteen Dogs), I probably am. It wasn't really the mythology that grabbed me though, but way more so the intimate experience of living inside of Circe's mind for 12 hours.

You can tell that Madeline Miller took great care to really dive into and visualize Circe's experience. It's so real!

The self-doubt, the grappling with her identity, her punishment, her privileges, and her mistakes. Circe as a character is so dynamic, and Miller polishes each thought, each minute detail, like a diamond. The dynamic perspective also adds so much to the familiar stories and fables of greek gods and heroes that we see them all in a totally new way.

Odysseus is especially more human than ever. His skill in trickery and leadership turns into something new entirely, and his heroism (and so the very concept of heroism) is illustrated remarkably well.

Yeah maybe I am a little too into mythology, but if anything this book made me realize it more than ever.

Lastly, this audiobook debuts a brilliant new talent to audible. Perdita Weeks. Omg. She is amazing and can do anything. The way she fluctuates between male and female voices is one thing. I didn't even notice it was her at first, narrating the men.

But the raw emotion she pours into Circe's internal struggle nails the point of this story on the head. She turns what is essentially a lonely monologue into a three-dimensional experience.

In the end you have two people Madeline Miller and Perdita Weeks, who wholly and honestly assumed the role and mind of Circe, and lived it for the duration of this story.

I could keep writing about this forever so I'm just gonna end it here, because you probably get the point.

448 of 473 people found this review helpful

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  • Jim N
  • 2018-04-18

Magnificent!

This is the best book I've listened to in ages. Beautifully written from start to finish, Madeline Miller's novel breathes new life into old mythology. Through Circe's eyes, we perceive the strange and callous cruelty of the gods (and of men), the fleeting lives of mortals, love, loss, and the strange and wondrous magnificence of the world. There are heroes and monsters, adventure and witchcraft. The book is breathtaking in it's scope yet immensely personal and moving as well. It's a truly impressive achievement and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Perdita Weeks' narration is top notch.

186 of 199 people found this review helpful

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  • Do some good
  • 2019-02-24

Great story, but..

I liked the story, the characters are great and well defined. Overall the writing is first rate. The issue is the narrator's voice is very delicate and at times I found myself turning the volume all the way up to hear the story. I guess if I'm paying to listen to a story I want to hear the story. Don't let this stop you from this book. Just be prepared to man the volume.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Gillian
  • 2018-04-13

Filled With Grace, Action, Humor--Unforgettable

To say that Circe proves Madeline Miller to be an excellent writer, capable of capturing setting, time, characters, and essence, is an absolute understatement. I haven't been so entranced by a book since City of Thieves.
Though they are entirely different forms of work, both books have unforgettable characters, and Miller's writing places you, the reader, right in the midst of gorgeous places, living with the larger than life, whether gods or mortals.
Here you'll find Circe, someone who was shaped by an early act of grace given to Prometheus, living amongst the likes of Daedalus and Icarus, Jason and Medea, Odysseus and Penelope. Then too, she butts heads with Hermes and Athena, with Helios himself. She moves among them all.
She is moved by terrible violation and the tenderest of pity. She grows into a woman of strength and independence, and finds that, through generation after generation of life, there's a difference between immortality and actual living. It's a beautiful tale, elegantly written, with act after act of the unbelievable, the unforgettable. Truly, this is a story written from the divine for us, mere mortals.
And Perdita Weeks! Though at times I had trouble with the volume, as she goes from quiet thoughts to daring and outspoken declarations, Weeks has wonderful tones, carries dialogue, carries action with grace, ease, and power. What a find she is as a narrator.
I can't vouch for how closely Circe follows mythology; what I found (in Wikipedia, I admit--not from Edith Hamilton), is quite different, but I can say with complete sincerity, that this story as written is truly a find.
A cover-to-cover listen (what is mere sleep, after all? a trip to the underworld?), filled with gods and mortals, lionesses and wolves, swine and nymphs.
Really, quite remarkable.
For other reviews, of all genres, check out Audiobook Accomplice

72 of 79 people found this review helpful

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  • Kate
  • 2019-04-07

Slow start, but a fun listen overall.

I wished Circe would stop whining for the first 3 chapters. It got immensely better after all that self loathing was over.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Two Cents
  • 2018-04-27

Bravo!

Wonderful mythological fairy tale. Tons of adventure, fright, laughs, and fun, but not all fun. what an amazing writer, and narrator. And for me, new and different!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Beliaudi
  • 2018-04-23

Wow, Wow, Wow - Exceptional

If you could sum up Circe in three words, what would they be?

Circe is Spellbinding

What other book might you compare Circe to and why?

This book is nothing like I've read before. It's almost like magic was used in each word, casting strong emotions. The story can be an analogy to our trials and tribulations. Even after reading it I keep thinking back of the poetic tone Miller used to unravel the stories, it conjures to reflect on the similarities within it with our human experiences. One of the strongest emotions is realizing children are not our own but their own and they would find their way in this world not matter how strong the will is to protect them. Circe will be one of those books that will be forever in me. Perhaps one such book causing a similar magical effect is - Don Quijote.

Bravo Madeline Miller!

What about Perdita Weeks’s performance did you like?

Perdita Weeks' performance was outstanding, drawing Circe's personality out as she matured. Not only did she make Circe a compelling character but all the others as well.

Who was the most memorable character of Circe and why?

The strongest character by far is Circe, she is powerful, always strong willed and aiming to do what is ultimately right against all odds. She is brave, facing those who had wronged her, murky waters, and deadly situations. Circe is a heroine.

Any additional comments?

Additionally, Madeline took such great care on making Circe a classy read. Loved, loved, loved, how it did not have explicit sexual innuendo and anything remotely close to a sexual encounter was kept to the readers imagination. This is the first audible I purchase the companion audible edition for and will also buy the hard copy because I want to go back and re-read it. So many insights in it, so many teachings.

49 of 56 people found this review helpful

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  • TravelMommy
  • 2018-04-26

Gorgeous and haunting

I will listen to every story this narrator is willing to tell. It’s as if she and the author are one. The tale of Circe as imagined from her perspective is so full, so - I’m at a loss for an adjective big enough to describe - but it’s lodged in my body, the emotions and insight and observations, the mythical and the mortal. I will listen again just to get lost in it. One of my favorite audiobook experiences ever.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Wini Harrison
  • 2018-04-12

Till human voices wake us...

Any additional comments?

"Circe" has all my favorite elements: mythology, magic and a strong female pov with an authentic human voice. The narrator's performance, precise, lyrical yet understated, lured me into the depths of the story.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • 2018-08-18

A Weaver without Wool

"All this while, I have been a weaver without wool, a ship without the sea. Yet now look where I sail."
- Circe, Madeline Miller, Circe

This might be a 5-star book. I need to let it soak. I really enjoyed it. Feminist. Marxist almost. It looks at the gods and at Man from the perspective of a banished nymph, a witch, a daughter of Helios. The myths get brushed, twisted and woven in a way that is both familiar and new. Miller changes the myths by simply changing the narrator, removing the hero, and looking at the narrative from a different perspective. This has been done before, but Miller's approach and craft is hard to replicate. I'm not sure she is Robert Graves, but she is definitely on the same island as Mary Renault.

26 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • Cheerioh
  • 2019-03-06

Très jolie interprétation du mythe de Circé

Ce récit centré autour du personnage de Circé nous offre une réécriture du mythe mais nous fait aussi passer par de très nombreux épisodes des mythes antiques dont j'étais passionnée à l'adolescence. Mais nul besoin de les connaître pour en profiter et au pire il y a un pdf des personnages fourni. On rencontre non seulement Circé mais Ulysse (Odysseus sur la version anglaise), Hermès, Zeus, Prométhéus et encore une palanquée d'autres.

N'mporte quelle femme saine d'esprit bondira à chaque insulte qui est faite à ce personnage du fait de son sexe, c'est insupportable mais bon ces histoires datent un peu. Par contre l'auteure prend clairement le parti de son personnage et elle est tellement riche, détaillée, nuancée, franchement c'est vraiment un plaisir.

On découvre vraiment un personnage intéressant toujours dépictée sous une forme négative et cette fois présentée sous un jour plus subtil. Eh bien ça vaut le détour. Peut-être pas au point d'être aussi enthousiaste que comme sur Booktube mais c'était pas mal tout de même et la narratrice américaine était excellente, on avait l'impression d'entendre Circé s'indigner.

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  • A. Wilson
  • 2019-02-06

Sadly the poor editing is jarring

Yes, you really can see the join! It's like the book was recorded in different rooms on different days, and edited together to form a rather disconcerting patchwork, paragraph by paragraph. A great pity because the actual words are intriguing. Ms Weeks is not a very compelling story-teller, exhibiting very little light and shade. She seems like a bit of an amateur, like she's just reading to herself. I was tempted to keep the book for bedtime, however, instead of counting sheep.

Now contemplating buying the print version so I can create my own soundstage.