ankh_hpl (ankh_hpl) wrote,

My Goodreads review: A Thousand Ships

A Thousand ShipsA Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Women's viewpoints seem to be everywhere lately in classical mythology and related fiction (think The Silence of the Girls or Circe), but I'm still glad I made time for this one. Rather than telling the story of one woman/goddess, Haynes moves through the Trojan War & its aftermath through the viewpoints of many women -- Greek and Trojan, mortal & immortal. Although this approach is occasionally disorienting, it adds depth to the familiar plotline while making the most of the author's research. The returning voice of the muse of epic poetry creates a useful but unobtrusive frame.

The novel itself feels less lyrical / emotional than some I've read in this subgenre, but this tone makes the events no less chilling. Haynes' choice of multiple viewpoints allows the examination of some events through more than one woman's eyes. Penelope's voice in letters to her long-absent husband also helps to keep the overall narrative on track, as the faithful but frustrated Penelope hears of Odysseus only from the random songs of bards visiting her court.

The author's own narration might push this one from 4.5 to 5 stars, but perhaps that's only because I'm a sucker for classical /mythological material delivered in a no-nonsense academic British accent. However that extra half-star manifested itself, I'd strongly recommend enjoying this one on audio.

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Tags: goodreads, reviews, women's history, women's literature

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