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About Natalie Haynes
Natalie Haynes is a writer, broadcaster, and classicist. She was once a stand-up comic, but retired when she realised she preferred tragedy to comedy. She has published three novels, The Amber Fury (The Furies - US) in 2014, The Children of Jocasta (2017) and A Thousand Ships (2019), which was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2020. She has also published two non-fiction book, The Ancient Guide to Modern Life (2010) and Pandora's Jar (2020). She also has a radio series, Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics, which is available on BBC Sounds and Audible.
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An NPR Best Book of the Year
“Gorgeous.... With her trademark passion, wit, and fierce feminism, Natalie Haynes gives much-needed voice to the silenced women of the Trojan War.”—Madeline Miller, author of Circe
Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, a gorgeous retelling of the Trojan War from the perspectives of the many women involved in its causes and consequences—for fans of Madeline Miller.
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 them all . . .
In the middle of the night, a woman wakes to find her beloved city engulfed in flames. 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.
A woman’s epic, powerfully imbued with new life, A Thousand Ships puts the women, girls and goddesses at the center of the Western world’s great tale ever told.
Thebes is a city in mourning, still reeling from a devastating plague that invaded every home and left the survivors devastated and fearful. This is the Thebes that Jocasta has known her entire life, a city ruled by a king—her husband-to-be.
Jocasta struggles through this miserable marriage until she is unexpectedly widowed. Now free to choose her next husband, she selects the handsome, youthful Oedipus. When whispers emerge of an unbearable scandal, the very society that once lent Jocasta its support seems determined to destroy her.
Ismene is a girl in mourning, longing for the golden days of her youth, days spent lolling in the courtyard garden, reading and reveling in her parents’ happiness and love. Now she is an orphan and the target of a murder plot, attacked within the very walls of the palace. As the deadly political competition swirls around her, she must uncover the root of the plot—and reveal the truth of the curse that has consumed her family.
The novel is based on Oedipus Tyrannus and Antigone, two of Classical Greece’s most compelling tragedies. Told in intersecting narratives, this reimagining of Sophocles’s classic plays brings life and voice to the women who were too often forced to the background of their own stories.
“After two and a half millennia of near silence, Jocasta and Ismene are finally given a chance to speak . . . Haynes’s Thebes is vividly captured. In her excellent new novel, she harnesses the mutability of myth.” —The Guardian
“Funny, sharp explications of what these sometimes not-very-nice women were up to, and how they sometimes made idiots of . . . but read on!”—Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid's Tale
The national bestselling author of A Thousand Ships returns with a fascinating, eye-opening take on the remarkable women at the heart of classical stories Greek mythology from Helen of Troy to Pandora and the Amazons to Medea.
The tellers of Greek myths—historically men—have routinely sidelined the female characters. When they do take a larger role, women are often portrayed as monstrous, vengeful or just plain evil—like Pandora, the woman of eternal scorn and damnation whose curiosity is tasked with causing all the world’s suffering and wickedness when she opened that forbidden box. But, as Natalie Haynes reveals, in ancient Greek myths there was no box. It was a jar . . . which is far more likely to tip over.
In Pandora’s Jar, the broadcaster, writer, stand-up comedian, and passionate classicist turns the tables, putting the women of the Greek myths on an equal footing with the men. With wit, humor, and savvy, Haynes revolutionizes our understanding of epic poems, stories, and plays, resurrecting them from a woman’s perspective and tracing the origins of their mythic female characters. She looks at women such as Jocasta, Oedipus’ mother-turned-lover-and-wife (turned Freudian sticking point), at once the cleverest person in the story and yet often unnoticed. She considers Helen of Troy, whose marriage to Paris “caused” the Trojan war—a somewhat uneven response to her decision to leave her husband for another man. She demonstrates how the vilified Medea was like an ancient Beyonce—getting her revenge on the man who hurt and betrayed her, if by extreme measures. And she turns her eye to Medusa, the original monstered woman, whose stare turned men to stone, but who wasn’t always a monster, and had her hair turned to snakes as punishment for being raped.
Pandora’s Jar brings nuance and care to the millennia-old myths and legends and asks the question: Why are we so quick to villainize these women in the first place—and so eager to accept the stories we’ve been told?
The Furies is a psychologically complex, dark and twisting novel about loss, obsession and the deep tragedies that can connect us to each other even as they blind us to our fate, from the best selling author of A Thousand Ships
After losing her fiancé in a shocking tragedy, Alex Morris moves from London to Edinburgh to make a break with the past. Formerly an actress, Alex accepts a job teaching drama therapy at a school commonly referred to as "The Unit," a last-chance learning community for teens expelled from other schools in the city.
Her students have troubled pasts and difficult personalities, and Alex is an inexperienced teacher, terrified of what she's taken on and drowning in grief. Her most challenging class is an intimidating group of teenagers who have been given up on by everyone before her. But Alex soon discovers that discussing the Greek tragedies opens them up in unexpected ways, and she gradually develops a rapport with them.
But are these tales of cruel fate and bloody revenge teaching more than Alex ever intended? And who becomes responsible when these students take the tragedies to heart, and begin interweaving their darker lessons into real life with terrible and irrevocable fury?
Published in the UK under the title The Amber Fury.
"Steady pacing paired with well-timed foreshadowing and fully realized characters make this one compelling from the beginning. Fans of Donna Tartt's The Secret History (1992), Erin Kelly's The Poison Tree (2011), and Tana French's The Likeness (2008) will likely enjoy the new perspective Haynes' conversational style offers to similar material." —Booklist
International animal-smuggling, illicit computer-hacking, break-neck chases and a fast-talking cat. Just your ordinary summer holidays...