Thursday, February 18, 2021

Top ten classic stories retold

The Smash-Up, Ali Benjamin's new novel, is based on Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton's novella about a strained marriage in a small town.

At the Guardian, Benjamin tagged ten "terrific books that breathe fresh life into the familiar," including:
Circe by Madeline Miller

In Homer’s Odyssey, Circe plays a minor role as the goddess/witch who transforms Odysseus’s men into pigs, only to be outwitted, defeated, and bedded by the wily mortal. Thousands of years later, Circe gets her due in Miller’s fierce – retelling. We learn of the casual, bored cruelty of the Titans and Olympians, the “great chain of fear” in which they delight, and the reason for Circe’s exile (as with all witch stories, it’s because Circe discovered her powers, and used them). A powerful story of rage and grace, healing and becoming, told in shimmering prose.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Circe is among Lucile Scott's eight books about hexing the patriarchy, E. Foley and B. Coates's top ten goddesses in fiction, Jordan Ifueko's five fantasy titles driven by traumatic family bonds, Eleanor Porter's top ten books about witch-hunts, Emily B. Martin's six stunning fantasies for nature lovers, Allison Pataki's top six books that feature strong female voices, Pam Grossman's thirteen stories about strong women with magical powers, Kris Waldherr's nine top books inspired by mythology, Katharine Duckett's eight novels that reexamine literature from the margins, and Steph Posts' thirteen top novels set in the world of myth.

--Marshal Zeringue