Greek mythology retellings have become extremely popular in recent times, reimagining these characters as more than a foil or an unwitting participant in the consequences their actions has given many of the women of these stories new life. In Pandora’s Jar, Natalie Haynes sets us straight on the adulteration of these myths through time and perspective on the time they were written. This helps us to understand why the women are so often painted as a villain or the impetus of something bad that has been unleashed on the world. Like in her previous novelizations, Haynes gives these women life and motivations and provides us all with a deeper understanding of how their roles have evolved with humanity. She explains how the words on the page informed our current understanding but also delves deeply into the spaces between the words on the page and how a new set of eyes at a different angle could make all the difference.
This book is divided into chapters which focus on one woman at a time: Pandora, Jocasta, Helen of Troy, Medusa, The Amazons, Clytemnestra, Eurydice, Phaedra, Medea and Penelope. Some of these women are more well known to us in the modern world and we get a new view and context for them, others are less well known and we get to hear where they fit in and how relatable (or not) that they are. We don’t get full retellings rather analyses of the key pieces of the story that have made the woman infamous. Really intelligent writing and compelling, thought provoking analyses of a much loved genre of characters. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐
Thanks to Harper Perennial for a gifted advanced copy of this book. All opinions above are my own.
What’s your favorite mythological character?