Book Review: A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

Looking for your next read? Check out A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes, reviewed by Fulco Library staff from the College Park branch.

A nominee for the Women’s prize for fiction, this retelling of the Trojan War tells the story from the viewpoint of all the women involved. You quickly realize this is more than just the story of Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world whose kidnapping by Paris of Troy causes all of the Greek kingdoms to wage war against Troy. Told in short chapters by each woman, from the Trojan women who have lost their home and now face enslavement by the Greeks, to the Greek wives who wait for their husbands to return. These stories show how the women are more than supporting characters to the warriors of the Trojan War. Most humorous are the chapters of Penelope, the long-suffering wife of Odysseus, written in the form of letters to her husband, who wants to know why it is taking 10 years for him to return home from the war.

If you enjoyed reading the Iliad or The Odyssey, you will enjoy reading this book which fills in a lot more information about the women, who were mostly depicted as minor characters. It is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes humorous, but definitely a quick read.

The author Natalie Haynes has recorded a BBC radio series, “Natalie Haynes Stands up for the Classics”.

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