A panoramic portrait of the true cost of conflict ... a bold choral retelling of the Iliad that’s panoramic and playful yet makes a serious comment on war and its true cost ... This subversive reseeing of the classics is a many-layered delight.
Reimagining source material from Virgil, Homer, Euripides and others, Haynes delivers a sparkling narrative about the Trojan War that will appeal to fans of Game of Thrones as well as die-hard mythology nerds ... retells these stories with a comic flourish and vividly renders battle scenes, family dramas and ranting gods and goddesses ...And Haynes makes problems in the Bronze Age feel so much like now. Sex trafficking, corrupt leaders and the despoiling of the Earth are some of the timeless challenges Greeks and Trojans faced during that era ... A Thousand Ships does more than acknowledge the suffering of women. It tells in lively fashion gripping tales of bravery, treachery and revenge.
Broadcaster and classicist Natalie Haynes amplifies the muted voices of women in her all-female retelling of the Trojan War. From slaves to queens to muses to deities, she takes the scraps of women Homer offers us in The Iliad and The Odyssey and patches them into full characters with powerful stories ... What follows is a series of primarily self-contained chapters tackling not only the Trojan War but also its long and drawn-out aftermath. For the most part, each chapter is its own entity and does not follow a linear timeline ... While these stories give A Thousand Ships the feel of a series of thematically connected vignettes, the book is lent narrative scaffolding by the Trojan women and Penelope's letters to her husband, Odysseus, transforming it into something between a collection and a novel ... With the wisdom of Athena and a pinch of humor, Haynes considers the many ways in which women exhibit strength, even in situations of relative powerlessness.
Though the resetting of ancient tales and myths in other times and places emphasizes their enduring relevance, fitting them into the tropes of the modern novel often diminishes their power...This happens to some of Haynes’s characters, notably Cassandra, one of the most tragic characters in ancient Greek literature ... Some of the human stories are more compelling than others ... Haynes is at her best when she lets her wry sense of humor come through, most obviously in the Calliope chapters ... Haynes doesn’t offer any particularly new insights into her heroines’ stories, nor into the stories of women in war ... Still, there is much to be learned from Haynes’s profound knowledge of her subject. For someone who knows the stories, it is a pleasure to revisit them. For anyone who hasn’t encountered them, it’s a good place to start.
... a witty, unapologetically feminist story of women’s suffering, courage, and endurance, which demands that we reconsider our concept of heroism ... The telling is nonlinear, but the varied stories flow naturally together, ensuring that readers won’t lose their way. Haynes’ freshly modern version of an ancient tale is perfect for our times.
The women of the Trojan War take center stage in this excellent take on the Greek classics ... an enthralling reimagining of the lives of women from both Troy and Greek culture.Haynes shines by twisting common perceptions of the Trojan War and its aftermath in order to capture the women’s experiences.