Australian writer of books for younger readers, young adults, verse novels and poetry.

Revisiting the Greeks

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I’ve just finished reading Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls – brilliant! And that led me down the rabbit hole of discovery…so many women writers are turning their attention to the ancient Greeks and revisiting those stories.

Here’s a very quick list of what I’ve discovered:

The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker – for the most part Barker uses the voice of Briseis to retell the Iliad. Her story as Achilles’ slave girl, recounts the fate of the women and children – but also characterises Achilles as a self-destructive figure, haunted by his own unreconciled griefs. It’s a powerful book and beautifully written.

Circe by Madeline Miller is on my yet-to-read pile. Margaret Atwood’s Circe poems originally made me curious about this figure, so I’m curious to see what Miller does. She also wrote The Song of Achilles – which I have yet to locate in my library systems.

Fen by Daisy Johnson. Jeff VanderMeer wrote about this book:

‘[An] instant classic…a bold, take-no-prisoners collection situated somewhere between Angela Carter and Deborah Levy’

That was enough recommendation for me to buy it  – and it’s next on my reading list (when I polish off the library books!) This is on the list as one reviewer said it referenced the Oedipus story – although now I can’t find that review. But seriously? Anyone likened to Angela Carter….can’t wait to read it!

And, finally, Memorial by Alice Oswald. Oswald is a poet we’ve studied this year at the Poetry group I facilitate at The Avenue Neighbourhood House. I love her work and I’m ordering this for myself for Christmas.

How interesting is it to see all these re-visionings popping up? I think there’s a short course in this!

Writing inspiration: Think about  your favourite – or least favourite – figure from mythology. What is their unsung story?




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