Much of Ancient Greek culture, including its mythology, was derived from Ancient Egypt and other Afroasiatic civilisations, but this rich tapestry of influences has subsequently been whitewashed. With this context in mind, I thought I would highlight 3 books by black women writers who reclaim Greek mythology and use it to illustrate the harrowing experiences of enslavement and racism.
Rating: 3 stars Category: Classics, Historical Fiction Synopsis: Hester Prynne's husband is missing, presumed dead. Most believe he drowned on the voyage from Amsterdam to join her in New England. Yet getting pregnant out of wedlock is still enough to earn Hester a lifelong punishment - wearing the scarlet letter 'A' embroidered on her clothing so her shame can never be forgotten. Cast to the margins of her Puritan village community, Hester lives in solitude and tries to raise her daughter Pearl away from prying eyes. When a newcomer to the village brings old secrets, she is forced to choose between a life of piety and redemption, or following her perilously taboo passions.
Rating: 2 stars Category: Crime Fiction Synopsis: Private investigator Phillip Marlowe, a little strapped for cash, is on yet another assignment to track down an adulterous spouse when he runs into Moose Malloy. This cold, violent gangster has a soft spot: a barmaid named Velma whom he was going to marry before being jailed for armed robbery. Marlowe strikes out to find Velma, but soon uncovers a black hole of gangs, blackmail and corruption in which she may well be lost forever.