The Captain’s Log – galatea (Madeline Miller) – a short story

Ahoy there me mateys!  I read circe in 2019 and really enjoyed it so I wanted to give this short story a try.  Luckily a local library had a copy.  For those who don’t recognize the title, it is a Greek myth where a sculptor (and king), Pygmalion, falls in love with his statue of a beautiful woman and asks the gods to bring her to life.

The versions that I knew always professed that the sculptor and his transformed wife live happily ever after.  This short story is nothing like that.  The “original” Ovid tale had Pygmalion swear off all women after seeing prostitutes and being repulsed by them.  It always seemed to me like  Pygmalion thought all women were unworthy of his status and that he was a bit of an egotistical bastard.  He didn’t want a women until it was one he created exactly the way he wanted her.  This version gives the statue a point of view.  It ain’t pretty.

The story is well written – enough that the circumstances of Galatea’s life are just plain gross.  Galatea’s husband is a disgusting, horrible person who basically tortures his wife.  He wanted a woman based on his ideals of obedience and virginity and didn’t expect his transformed wife to have the ability to speak.  Much less have thoughts of her own.

I have to say that for me this is not a five-star read merely because I didn’t like reading about Galatea’s circumstances.  While the sex scenes are not graphic, how Galatea is treated made me kinda sickened and rather upset.  I did think some of the oddities of how a statue would think were cool.  The ending and how Galatea ends up ultimately dealing with her husband was gratifying but I didn’t have fun with this one.  The author was very successful at making her point though.  Ick.

I am glad this story was free from the library as this 20 page story is listed for $3.99 on Amazon.  While I am glad I read it, it would not worth paying that price point to read it (for me at least).  Arrrr!

Side note: I never realized how much resonance this myth had in terms of influencing other stories!  There is a huge list of paintings, poems, short stories, operas, plays, comics, etc. that deal with this myth.  The majority by men of course.

Goodreads had this to say about the novel:

In Ancient Greece, a skilled marble sculptor has been blessed by a goddess who has given his masterpiece – the most beautiful woman the town has ever seen – the gift of life. Now his wife, Galatea is expected to be obedience and humility personified, but it is not long before she learns to use her beauty as a form of manipulation. In a desperate bid by her obsessive husband to keep her under control, she is locked away under the constant supervision of doctors and nurses. But with a daughter to rescue, she is determined to break free, whatever the cost…

To visit the author’s website go to:

Madeline Miller – Author

To buy the short story please visit:

galatea – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

circe (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)

10 thoughts on “The Captain’s Log – galatea (Madeline Miller) – a short story

  1. Being familiar with the original myth I can get a feel for where she went with this one, and I appreciate it, but like you I probably wouldn’t want to read the details on this one because it would just make me angry and upset. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In high school, we did a one-act play of this myth, and I remember the students in the drama class were really into the plot. I think it was a bit different from the original, though I can’t remember how (were talking 20 years ago). We also argued over the pronunciation of Galatea: was it Gal-ah-tay-ah or Guh-lay-she-uh. I don’t know what we landed on.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As always a well done honest review.

    On a personal note l had a hand surgery so I’m giving you lots of notice on why I won’t meet my reading goals this year either. 😂 I’m fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sheesh, can’t catch a break. I had to have stitches in me dominant hand once. I couldn’t use it for two weeks and it was horrible. I hope ye heal correctly and quickly. Ye can always use audiobooks!
      x The Captain


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