We’ve added Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths to our collection.
Perhaps best known for her fictional novel A Thousand Ships, which was a national bestseller, Natalie Haynes has also written and recorded seven series of Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics for the BBC, amongst other books and articles. Everyone is encouraged to read A Thousand Ships, which is a fantastic retelling of the story of the Trojan War from the point of view of the women involved, including those often forgotten by other writings, but her newest nonfiction book is another must-read.
Natalie Haynes, described as a “broadcaster, writer, and passionate classicist,” by her publisher, has published a new nonfiction book about the Greek myths. Most people have heard the classic tales of Heracles/Hercules, Zeus, and Achilles, fewer know the stories of Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Antigone, Medea, and even Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena. The simple reason is that most of the books written about these tales come from stories first told thousands of years ago, which focused on the male heroes in the stories, bypassing the powerful women who are also part of the mythos. Haynes tries to correct this in her fictional novel A Thousand Ships about the Trojan War, but now broadens her reach beyond that saga, including four total: the Trojan War, the Royal House of Thebes, Jason and the Argonauts, and Heracles, but gives the women of these myths a powerful voice so the reader can learn about all the people involved. Often overlooked, this feminist retelling is an important discussion (and correction) about women in classical myths, whose stories are just as interesting as the “heroes” of these sagas.
This book is a refreshing take for anyone who has learned about Greek mythology in school, read the books, and seen the movies, and wants a new look at the same tales. Described as a comedian as well as a writer, Natalie Haynes’s work is a fun read, interesting to even those who shy away from nonfiction.
Recommendations for other books and movies about Greek mythology:
Books: Circe by Madeline Miller ; Mythos: the Greek Myths Reimagined by Stephen Fry ; The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller ; The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & the Olympians, book 1) for YA fans ; Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe (for graphic novel fans)