“A Thousand Ships” is not the average story of the Homeric epics
A thousand ships,
by Natalie Haynes
• • • • •
Named Best Book of the Year by The Guardian and shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, A thousand ships is not the average account of the Homeric epics. Natalie Haynes, a British classic wrote a story of the Trojan War because it touched women, not just men. “A woman’s epic, powerfully imbued with new life, A thousand ships puts women, girls, goddesses at the center of the western world’s greatest story ever told. Hers is not just the story of a human or a mighty god, but it is a fiercely feminist story and question: “What is the most heroic act, the story of a man? who loses his wife, or a woman who loses her husband and raises her son alone? “
The blind poet Homer once spoke of armies of men, gods, monsters, death and life, joy and pain, and the afterlife. Natalie Haynes tells the same story through the poet who sings about the forgotten, the women, the ignored, not just a woman or two, but all of them. She justifies the story by the fact that war does not only affect half the lives of the people it touches and that women are equal heroes. In this writing, she shows that heroism can reside in everyone, not just men, nor that the consequences of tragic roles belong only to women. “Survivors, victims, torturers, these roles are not always separate. People can be injured and injured at the same time or at different times in the same life.
The stories in this novel are inspired by that of Homer. The Iliad and the Odyssey but here told by Calliope, the feminine muse of the ancient world. Haynes’ classic research is impeccable. Her creative writing draws on archaeological and literary texts to best accompany the chapters she invents. When it was okay, she used it.
The reader need not worry about a slip or any memory of Greek and Roman mythology. The author has made a clever list of characters which allows for easy reference of the Greeks, Trojans, gods and goddesses of Zeus to and through Eris, the goddess of struggle (Troublemaker). If one is confused between Helen of Troy and the Trojan horse, a quick glance at this carefully curated easy to use list will help identify all the parts, whether human or divine, male or female.
Don’t make mistakes. The captivating tale of A thousand ships is absolutely feminist and from an all-female point of view. A classic may think that such a book is a pitcher, but the definition of epic is great heroic achievements told over and over again. Not a word about the man or the woman. In my opinion, A Thousand Ships is considered an epic because of its great accomplishments, events recounted continuously and at length. If these Homeric poems about the Trojan Wars qualify as epics because Achilles was the greatest warrior in HIS war and Ulysses’ return journey for ten years, then there can be no quarrel with the account of Calliope on Penelope, the smartest and smartest woman who brought it all to a peaceful end without causing a giant conflict between gods, goddesses, men and women. Some would say that she may still be the smartest woman of all time.
Thanks to Full Circle Book Store for sharing these books with Friday readers.