The Iliad and The Odyssey have long held my heart in their bloody fingers.
The fierce tales of so many heroes and gods have never ceased to sharpen my attention. I’ve always been enamoured of anything Greek, of the breathless, cruel glory of all of the characters tucked within the epics.
When I first heard of A Thousand Ships, I hoped for something similar to Madeline Miller’s beautiful Circe. The frank views of the women in the shadows of the Trojan War? Yes. A thousand times yes.
However, this blunt novel is drastically different from Miller’s romantic, lush work. At first I found myself disappointed…but then I was unceremoniously seduced by the familiar tone of the story, made unfamiliar by the voices that have so long been dismissed. While I craved the connection I felt towards Circe, I understood the importance of having so many different voices showing their piece of the fabric of Troy and its demise.
The ripple effect of its fall was just as stunningly brutal as the war itself, made even more stunning by the tales of the women. Of their subtle strengths and powerful hearts. Of their bravery and their vengeance.
Where Miller’s voice is one of poetry and lush beauty, Haynes’s narrative is clear and chimes without any extra adornment. She allows the stories of the women to read simply and frankly. It gives a basic kind of power to the words, and I, one who much prefers lyrical voices to blunt ones, enjoyed it immensely. It proved to me that beauty is still easily tucked into a narrative if the writer has a keen understanding of what she’s doing.
A lovely, much needed read. I’m happy I picked this book up.