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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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In this thoroughly engaging book, Natalie Haynes brings her scholarship and wit to the most fascinating true stories of the ancient world. The Ancient Guide to Modern Life not only reveals the origins of our culture in areas including philosophy, politics, language, and art, it also draws illuminating connections between antiquity and our present time, to demonstrate that the Greeks and Romans were not so different from ourselves: Is Bart Simpson the successor to Aristophanes? Do the Beckhams have parallel lives with The Satiricon’s Trimalchio? Along the way Haynes debunks myths (gladiators didn’t salute the emperor before their deaths, and the last words of Julius Caesar weren’t “et tu, brute?”). From Athens to Zeno's paradox, this irresistible guide shows how the history and wisdom of the ancient world can inform and enrich our lives today.
“A romp through some of the best-known, and some of the more obscure, writers, thought, and stories of Greece and Rome.” —Times Literary Supplement
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.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“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?
"Haynes is master of her trade . . . She succeeds in breathing warm life into some of our oldest stories.”—Telegraph (UK)
The national bestselling author of A Thousand Ships and Pandora's Jar returns with a fresh and stunningly perceptive take on the story of Medusa, the original monstered woman.
They will fear you and flee you and call you a monster.
The only mortal in a family of gods, Medusa is the youngest of the Gorgon sisters. Unlike her siblings, Medusa grows older, experiences change, feels weakness. Her mortal lifespan gives her an urgency that her family will never know.
When the sea god Poseidon assaults Medusa in Athene’s temple, the goddess is enraged. Furious by the violation of her sacred space, Athene takes revenge—on the young woman. Punished for Poseidon’s actions, Medusa is forever transformed. Writhing snakes replace her hair and her gaze will turn any living creature to stone. Cursed with the power to destroy all she loves with one look, Medusa condemns herself to a life of solitude.
Until Perseus embarks upon a fateful quest to fetch the head of a Gorgon . . .
In Stone Blind, classicist and comedian Natalie Haynes turns our understanding of this legendary myth on its head, bringing empathy and nuance to one of the earliest stories in which a woman—injured by a powerful man—is blamed, punished, and monstered for the assault. Delving into the origins of this mythic tale, Haynes revitalizes and reconstructs Medusa’s story with her passion and fierce wit, offering a timely retelling of this classic myth that speaks to us today.
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
Una novela magistral sobre la guerra de Troya contada desde una perspectiva femenina.
«Ésta nunca ha sido la historia de una mujer, ni de dos: es la de todas».
En plena noche, una mujer se despierta y observa que su amada ciudad está envuelta en llamas. Los diez años de conflicto entre griegos y troyanos, que parecían no tener fin, quedan atrás, con Troya reducida a cenizas.
Desde las mujeres troyanas, cuyos destinos ahora están en manos de los griegos, hasta la princesa amazona que, en nombre de ellas, luchó contra Aquiles, pasando por Penélope, que espera el regreso de Ulises, o las tres diosas con cuya contienda empezó todo... Éstas son las fabulosas historias de unas mujeres envueltas en una guerra legendaria y marcadas por sus terribles secuelas.
La crítica ha dicho...
«Con la pasión que la caracteriza, su ingenio y un feminismo intenso, Natalie Haynes dota de una voz realmente necesaria a las mujeres silenciadas de la guerra de Troya».
Madeline Miller, autora de Circe
«Absorbente y de un feminismo valiente. [...] Su revisión original de los clásicos es una delicia de múltiples capas».
«Haynes es una maestra de su oficio. [...] Consigue insuflar pasión vital a algunas de nuestras leyendas más antiguas para demostrar cómo han cambiado las relaciones humanas y las emociones más elementales».
«Una historia feminista ingeniosa sobre el sufrimiento, el coraje y la entereza de las mujeres. La frescura de la versión moderna de Haynes de una historia antigua es perfecta para nuestros tiempos».
«Esta vívida reinvención [de la Guerra de Troya] bien vale el viaje».
«Una apasionante obra maestra del feminismo».
Deborah Frances-White, The Guilty Feminist
«Este libro no se limita a reconocer el sufrimiento de las mujeres. De manera vívida, cuenta apasionantes historias de coraje, traición y venganza».
The Washington Post
«Hábil y muy bien tramada. [...] A través de detalles muy evocativos, Haynes consigue recrear de forma admirable la vida de las mujeres griegas y troyanas».
The New York Times
«Un relato cautivador de las vidas de las mujeres de las culturas troyana y griega. [...] Haynes reconstruye con brillantez la visión establecida de la guerra de Troya para plasmar las experiencias de las mujeres.»
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...
Alles ist so gekommen, wie sie es vorausgesagt hatten…
… nur noch schlimmer! Troja brennt, der Krieg ist verloren. Warum hat Priamos nicht auf die skeptischen Worte seiner Frau gehört?
Denn während die Männer im Krieg ihr Leben verlieren, verlieren Hekabe, Polyxena und Andromache alles andere. Es gibt Angst, Wut und Schuldgefühle, doch die Frauen zeigen ihren Kummer nicht. Vielmehr erzählen sie ihre Geschichte als wäre sie ein Gedicht: melodisch, klug und unterhaltsam. Ihre Erinnerungen sind schmerzhaft, doch ihr Kampfgeist ist ungebrochen. Ist nicht das der eigentliche Maßstab für Größe?
›A Thousand Ships – Die Heldinnen von Troja‹ füllt eine Leerstelle: Endlich hören wir von den Frauen, deren Leben, Lieben und Rivalitäten durch den tragischen Krieg für immer verändert wurden.
Medusa – Schwester, Opfer, Monster?
Medusa wächst bei ihren Schwestern auf und merkt schnell, dass sie anders ist – eine Sterbliche in einer Familie von Göttern. Von ihrer Schönheit angezogen, bedrängt der Meeresgott Poseidon sie im Tempel der Athene. Die Göttin wähnt ihren Tempel entweiht und lässt ihre Wut an der Unschuldigen aus: Medusa wird in ein Monster mit Schlangenhaaren verwandelt, das kein Lebewesen mehr ansehen kann, ohne es zu Stein erstarren zu lassen. Aus Rücksicht verdammt Medusa sich zu einem Leben in der Einsamkeit. Bis der junge Perseus sich aufmacht, das Haupt eines Ungeheuers zu erlangen...
Poetisch und klug erzählt Natalie Haynes die Geschichte einer Frau, die von anderen zum Monster gemacht wird – und sich doch selbst behauptet.