Our book club decided to read A Thousand Ships by Nathalie Haynes over the holidays, and I was super happy we picked this book that I hadn’t heard of.
The story of the Trojan War is often described through the men who have an obvious and active part in the story. Of the women Helen is of course mentioned but she isn’t given much of a role other than being the cause of a 10 year war. Author Nathalie Haynes gives the stage to the different women of the story and tells the well known tale from a different perspective.
“But this is a women’s war, just as much as it is the men’s, and the poet will look upon their pain – the pain of the women who have always been relegated to the edges of the story, victims of men, survivors of men, slaves of men – and he will tell it, or he will tell nothing at all. They have waited long enough for their turn.”
I was very much drawn into the ancient world and the Greek mythologies which I used to love reading about when I was a child. ❤ This was a very enjoyable read!
I have been spending a lot of time in Ancient Greece recently. It’s taken forever but I’m soon done with playing Assasin’s Creed: Odyssey, which is set in ancient Greek around 400BC, and now Natalie Haynes took me back in time with her book A Thousand Ships. I have to say that the feeling of nostalgia is quite strong. I had almost forgotten how mesmerised I used to be about the different ancient mythologies when I was a kid. A Thousand Ships brings you a very familiar tale but from the perspective of the women who are so often just ignored in these types of epic stories.
Reading A Thousand Ships was almost like reading a collection of stories since the point of view changes almost every chapter. We get to see the story through the eyes of both Trojan and Greek women, some of the goddesses and there are some very emotional stories there about what happens in the background of the 10 year war. Through these snippets we get an overview of what it’s like living under siege for all those years, what it’s like to be enslaved when you end up on the losing side, and what it’s like to just wait for years while the men are fighting a war for so long and so far away. This feminist approach to familiar story was very refreshing to read and I hope this will become a new trend.
Personally I enjoyed this type of an approach which is sort of like reading a collection of short stories. However, it might be a bit confusing if the characters/mythology/story of the Trojan war isn’t familiar to you. The book does have a “map” of characters in the beginning explaining who they are, how they are related etc. so that might prove helpful if you’re having trouble keeping track who’s who. 🙂
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes fills these prompts from these two Reading Challenges I’m doing this year:
A book with a number in its title (Helmet Reading Challenge)
A book with a family tree (Popsugar Reading Challenge)