The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Book Cover Image

Questioning the Canon: Race and Greek Mythology Retellings

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. Continue reading Questioning the Canon: Race and Greek Mythology Retellings

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes Book Cover Image

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes: Rich and Ambitious Retelling

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. Continue reading A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes: Rich and Ambitious Retelling

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker Book Cover Image

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

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

circe madeline miller book cover image

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

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

Theatre Review: Troilus & Cressida (Royal Shakespeare Company)

My birthday treat this year was a pair of tickets to see a live-streamed production of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Troilus & Cressida. The play is a love story that unfolds in the midst of the Trojan war. With the Greek army camped at their walls, tensions are mounting in the besieged city. Troilus and Cressida must negotiate a tangle of betrayal and deceit if they are to remain true to one another. Continue reading Theatre Review: Troilus & Cressida (Royal Shakespeare Company)