Book Review of Ariadne by Jennifer Saint: Luscious, Visceral Mythology Retelling

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint Book Cover Image

Everyone knows the heroic story of Theseus in the labyrinth, and how Ariadne helped him to defeat the terrifying Minotaur. Yet with this act of bravery, a betrayal of her tyrannous royal father, Ariadne's story is only beginning. The epic tales of ancient poets rarely pause to consider her sacrifice, or what it meant to leave behind her Cretan home and family. Lost in a new kind of labyrinth, Ariadne must quickly learn what it means to be a woman, and a mortal, in a world ruled over by men and gods.

Book Review of Troy by Stephen Fry: Witty & Wry Mythology Retelling

Troy by Stephen Fry Book Cover Image

It is one of the most famous conflicts of all time, a war that defined three generations and shook the ancient world. The fates and circumstances that would trigger such unprecedented bloodshed were whispered on the wind decades before the first of Agamemnon's ships set sail. In this epic tale, Stephen Fry delves into the lives of gods and mortals, men and women, warriors and priests, as they are thrown into the cataclysm of the Trojan War.

Questioning the Canon: Race and Greek Mythology Retellings

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Book Cover Image

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.

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes: Rich and Ambitious Retelling

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes Book Cover Image

Rating: 4.5 stars

Category: Literary fiction, retellings

Synopsis: “Sing, Muse, he said, and I have sung ... I have sung of the women, the women in the shadows. I have sung of the forgotten, the ignored, the untold.”

The names of the Trojan war heroes echo down the centuries - Achilles, Odysseus, Agamemnon - while the women drawn into its devastation remain a footnote in all these songs and stories.

In A Thousand Ships, Natalie Haynes attempts to imagine, not one, but many voices for these women. From the most powerful goddess to the lowliest priest girl that serves her, each is irrevocably changed by the men's war, each has a story. And that story deserves to be told.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker: Devastating Feminist Retelling of the Trojan War

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker Book Cover Image

Rating: 5 stars

Category: Literary fiction, retellings

Synopsis: "Great Achilles. Brilliant Achilles, shining Achilles, godlike Achilles... How the epithets pile up. We never called him any of those things; we called him 'the butcher'"

The bards sing of Achilles, hero of the Trojan war, but never the slave who shared his bed, Briseis. Taken from her fallen city, Lyrnessus, she is brought to the Greek camp besieging Troy and given as a prize to Achilles. No woman is better placed to strip bare the true inglorious agonies of war, both on and off the battlefield.

5 Spooky Books by Women to Read this Halloween

Spooky Books by Women to Read this Halloween

The City Girl Magazine aims to connect, inspire and empower women living in cities across the UK and abroad. I write about books for the magazine (what else!?!) and thought I would share this Halloween-inspired post on my blog too. Please do take a look! https://citygirlnetwork.com/citygirlmagazine/5-spooky-books-by-women-to-read-this-halloween

Circe by Madeline Miller: Entrancing, Empowering Adaptation of Ancient Greek Myth

circe madeline miller book cover image

Circe, daughter of Helios, is born with the voice of a mortal without the glow of a god. Shunned by her nymph family, she observes from a distance the gods' cruelty and greed. When a defiant act of compassion leads to island exile, it is here that Circe finds the freedom to shape a self outside of her divinity.

More than a goddess, she is Circe, witch of Aiaia...