I love this new trend in historical fiction, or should I call it herstorical fiction. I love a retelling of a story, give me something new that is still somewhat familiar. An instant connection while at the same time fresh and exciting. Stories like Clytemnestra tell the untold story from the female perspective.
Ancient Greek literature is a perfect fountain for this trend. The stories are entirely male focused, we know Hercules, Odysseus, Achilles, Agamemnon; their stories were told by men for men. The women are often afterthoughts, trophies and causes of conflict. Greek mythology and history are filled with complicated women like Clytemnestra, these women seem to have been tools to tell young women that they better stay in line: Helen, Medea, Circe, Pandora – whore, betrayer and murderer of her children, sorcerer who turns men into animals, the bringer of all evils. Give me a break! There is more to these characters than that.
Casati has taken on Clytemnestra. Her name basically translates to famous plotter – while her husband was away fighting a war she hooks-up with her husband’s cousin and kills her husband when he finally returns home (sorry for the spoiler). A real challenge to turn this character we know into a sympathetic one that the audience will cheer for, or is it? Casati did a great job of revealing Agamemnon for the brutish butthole he was, not to say that it is okay to cheat on your spouse and then kill them, but Clytemnestra had her reasons, I get it.
This story was an entertaining trip back in time. Casati filled in herstory nicely with developed characters that didn’t get their due in the original works. She has made me look for more stories about the women of mythology and now I see them everywhere.
2 Book Lovers Reviews