A Thousand Ships

A Thousand Ships

A Novel

Book - 2021
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Ten seemingly endless years of conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over. Troy has fallen. From the Trojan women whose fates now lie in the hands of the Greeks, to the Amazon princess who fought Achilles on their behalf, to Penelope awaiting the return of Odysseus, to the three goddesses whose feud started it all, these are the stories of the women whose lives, loves, and rivalries were forever altered by this long and tragic war. -- adapted from jacket
Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2021]
Edition: First U.S. edition
Copyright Date: ©2021
ISBN: 9780063065390
0063065398
Characteristics: xiii, 348 pages ; 24 cm

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kwylie04
Apr 29, 2021

"This is the women's war, just as much as it is the men's. They have waited long enough for their turn. This was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of all of them."

Talk about an understatement. Natalie Haynes essentially took the ancient poems and plays about the Greeks and the Trojans and shook them upside down until they gave up the story of the characters which had been so sorely neglected over millennia - the women. Here we have Clytemnestra, Hecabe, Andromache, Chryseis, Briseis, Cassandra, even the goddesses themselves, all finally telling their story, the events that were their lives. The end result was both fascinating and heartbreaking.

Most say that the 'Iliad' is a story of men, that it provided the earliest example of men at war. The women stay mostly in the shadows, only a few, like Andromache, briefly stepping into the light. But here Haynes shines the light on all of them. While the men die (on the battlefield in glory, at the feet of Zeus in ignominy, etc), it it the women who survive to bear the consequences of their defeat (some longer than others).

I have to say that I very much enjoyed this story. Though it can be a bit hard to follow at times, as it jumps from different points in the timeline, but I was absolutely fascinated to see the fates of the women of these stories.

m
msummers57
Apr 26, 2021

Only ok. To echo other comments here there are other, much better, books on this topic.

b
BeauCoquelicot
Apr 16, 2021

It’s ok...kind of gimmicky. In relation to ‘Circe’ and ‘Silence of the Girls’ I was disappointed. HOWEVER, if you think of it like a series of short stories and not a cohesive novel - it’s more enjoyable (and in that case, there are a few really good standalone tales).

u
uncommonreader
Mar 13, 2021

This retelling of the Trojan War from the perspective of women has too modern a sensibility for me. While the author is perhaps attempting to be playful, the letters Penelope writes to Odysseus are just silly. Read instead Pat Barker's "The Silence of the Girls".

q
Qwfwq
Mar 13, 2021

There have been a few books lately that have re-visited the Greek myths and tried to give voice to the unsung characters; Song of Achilles and Circe by Madeline Miller, The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker, and now A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes. Which one should you read? You should read them all. They are all really good, and the more you familiarize yourself with these stories the more you will enjoy the different versions.

Of all these books, A Thousand Ships covers the most ground as it delves into the stories of dozens of Gods, Demi-gods and Humans. Haynes stays faithful to the events of the myths but spins a new take on motives and morals. Haynes gives a sense of the wider scope of Greek Mythology by spinning many more tales and involving many more characters, creating a sum greater than the individual parts. A bold and powerful book.

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brangwinn
Jan 26, 2021

I loved this female perspective of Homer’s Iliad. I am pleased to see that several authors are challenged the male view. There are plenty of female characters here. They are just as courageous as their husbands battling one another. Its been a long time since I’ve read Homer’s tale and I had to do some research to put all the pieces of A Thousand Ships together but it was well worth it. I’m still at a loss as to why the Greeks would go to war over a woman like Helen. Seems like they had plenty of other more compliant women. Greek mythology and stories seem to be the first soap operas. There’s so much going on.

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