Galatea by Madeline Miller – (Short Fiction) Book Review

Galatea by Madeline Miller

Madeline Miller’s follow-up to Song of Achilles revisits another popular myth. Pygmalion, a sculptor in Cyprus, falls in love with the beautiful marble statue he has carved, and asks Venus for a bride who would be as chaste and as lovely as his sculpture. She grants his wish, the statue comes to life and they marry, and presumably, live happily ever after. In Galatea (August 13, Ecco), Miller approaches the Pygmalion myth from the perspective of his sculpture and masterpiece, Galatea.

The story begins in media res; Galatea in her hospital bed contemplates how she should, today, handle the doctor who has been treating her – while we wonder what has brought her there. Though only about 15 pages long, Galatea covers a lot of ground, and as the story progresses we come to have some idea of how she came to be hospitalized, what her relationship is like with her husband (and creator), her thoughts about the future, and just how far she will go to secure it.

Miller deeply outlines a picture that is as vivid and troubling as it is startling, and she manages it in precious little space. Miller tells a much darker tale than that of a couple granted the miracle of life. It makes you wonder what type of man would become so enamored of a silent, though perfect, creation. What is he looking to achieve by requesting her as a companion? Mysterious and thought-provoking, Galatea is a worthy heroine and strategist under Miller’s illuminating and imaginative pen. Highly recommended.

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  1. Ooh! A new book by Miller! I really enjoyed The Song of Achilles so this is definitely on my list! It seems very short though, at only 15 pages?

  2. Martha @ Hey, I want to read that

    I think I’m the only person who hasn’t read The Song of Achilles yet. I want to read I just keep reading other things first. I’ve always had problems getting into short stories (and man, this one is short) but this sounds really interesting. I think I may have to read this soon. (It’s so nice to be back to the blog world. I’ve missed you’re reviews)

    • Song of Achilles is excellent, Martha. But if you just want to get your feet wet, this might be a good place to start. Again, welcome back.

  3. Oooo…I don’t know how I missed that this was coming out. I loved The Song of Achilles–can’t wait to read this one!

  4. This is listed at 100 pages on B&N. I was so PISSED AND DISAPPOINTED that it’s only 35 Nook pages. I’m sure it’ll be a great story given Miller’s talent, but what an epic fail on their part for messing up the details.

    • Yeah, that is disappointing. It is really a short story. I think the other pages are an excerpt from Song of the Achilles.

  5. Pingback: Out Of Twenty: Madeline Miller, Author of Galatea, Answers Questions | Linus's Blanket

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