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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • Retelling of Trojan war

    I love how the author wove the stories of the women of the Trojan war together to make a compelling story. And the question what makes someone a hero. Really well done.

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  • I Loved it!

    Well written, intelligently researched, and a great read. The stories were interwoven like the cloth the woman made. Beautiful and intricate. I loved seeing the stories from woman's perspective. It was like an extended version of "The Penelopiad" by Margaret Atwood.

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  • Sing Muse

    Sing Muse of the women buried in the epics. The women behind the war. The women behind the revenge. This is the story of the Trojan War, but our heroes are not Achilles and Hector. There were times this felt a little too heavy handed in the prose. Too blunt. That we were getting the point behind the woman’s story more central than the woman’s story. But, at the same time, the pieces of prose that could feel too blunt, maybe also needed to be said for all the times they’re not. The ideas behind the words were compelling and important and the ideas were wrapped up beautifully. I just felt at times the idea was more central than the character. I did wonder if the form of the book could have helped with this some. As it stands, it is extremely episodic, moving us through the stories of the women we may only see in the glimpse of a couple of lines in the source material. There are narrative lines we return to–Callipope, the Trojan Women, Penelope. Others, we get the one thread of their story. I don’t know. I liked the way it moved in and out but I can’t help thinking there was a missed form opportunity. Could the type of structure push the the ideas pulled from the source material in a new way (even as it’s pulling from epic poetry and play and myth—but there are repeated sections, like the Trojan Women that never really feel like a chorus but also like they might want to be)? Mirroring an epic more closely? Mirroring a Greek tragedy (the dramatic iteration) more closely? Playing more with the fates and their threads than the existing chapter? This last may be the most obvious way. We don’t see the fates until very, very late, but the way the narrative moves in and out of itself would have been a quick jump to playing with the imagery of the fates and their threads. But maybe Hayes wasn’t interested in centering the idea of fate in that way. Still, this also knocked me out. The language is lush and gorgeous, and often distracted when I felt I was being told the point rather than shown in some of these women’s stories. And it’s central conceit of the heroism of women in war, even when they’re not on the battlefield, was well explored. Additionally, the tone did fit with the subject matter. It felt true to an iteration of a Greek epic, and maybe some of my qualms with the bluntness need to be put aside for this reason alone. The reading also inspired in me a desire to return to the source material for these women. I have not read the entire Greek dramatic canon, and it has been a while since I revisited those I have. I actually found myself checking with what I had read during some parts of the book, trying to trace where I was familiar with aspects of the story from. Which also left me wondering about the reading experience those less familiar. I think we’re seeing a resurgence of looking at the Greek classics through new lenses thanks to authors like Madeline Miller. But these narratives often hone in one one specific narrative thread. This narrative weaves in and out of itself, and how do these glimpses at these lives work void of familiarity?

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  • I'm hooked!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Natalie Haynes! Amazing stories told by an amazing author!

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