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The Return From Troy by Lindsay Clarke

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lauragill
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The Return From Troy by Lindsay Clarke

Post by lauragill » Sun August 7th, 2011, 2:13 am

I was not crazy about Clarke's The War at Troy, which is quite similar to Colleen McCollough's Song of Troy. If you're familiar with the whole Trojan War/Iliad story, you can skip over the first book and start with The Return From Troy.

Most of this book deals with Odysseus and the events of The Odyssey, but the first section also gives us Agamemnon, Cassandra, and the intrigues of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. It's very well done. In particular, I found Cassandra to be very compelling, especially when she is in Iphigenia's old room at Aulis channeling the dead girl's terror, and knowing that she, too, is about to become a sacrifice.

As the novel begins, Odysseus, who has at the end of the previous book cut a deal with Antenor to spare the Trojans if the city surrenders, is horrified to discover that Agamemnon and the other Greek kings have no intention of honoring the bargain. Odysseus gets caught up in the slaughter, and afterward feels such a tremendous sense of blood-guilt that he is not able to go home until he cleanses himself. His misadventures are actually a series of initiations as he tries to rid himself of the demons that hound him.

On the homefront, Telemachus is growing up without a father. His story is seen through the eyes of the singer Phemius, seen briefly in The Odyssey as the minstrel who clasps Telemachus's ankles and begs for mercy during the slaughter of the suitors.

If you like The Odyssey, this is an inspired and creative take on the story.

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Gordopolis
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Post by Gordopolis » Wed January 11th, 2012, 10:14 am

Sounds good. I tend to like reading and writing about the 'aftermath' of great battles and moments of history.

I found Margaret George's Helen of Troy really enjoyable in this sense in that later in the book she focused on what happened on and around the site of the city of Troy after it was gone. It was really evocative and almost made me sentimental for the greatness that had been earlier in the story.

I'll check this one out too - I really enjoyed the Odyssey so it sounds like a winner.

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sweetpotatoboy
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Post by sweetpotatoboy » Wed January 11th, 2012, 4:17 pm

I've read both of these books and, while not crazy about either of them, I agree that the second is the better.

Below is the review I posted on LibraryThing:
A recent re-read for a book group discussion after having first read it two or three years ago. Found it readable and possibly more enjoyable than first time round. But it's mightily flawed. I think his intended theme is to portray Odysseus as undergoing a transformation and there's some stuff in the last couple of pages about love etc . that appears to be what he's trying to achieve here, but it's all rushed and skirted over. The crucial six years of his time of Calypso is skipped over and then told, extremely briefly, in flashback. The mythology is largely taken out or explained away, so what are we left with? Still, it's readable and some elements of the story, especially Agamemnon/Cassandra/Clytemnestra/Aegisthus/Orestes etc. come alive.

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lauragill
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Post by lauragill » Wed January 11th, 2012, 7:05 pm

[quote=""Gordopolis""]Sounds good. I tend to like reading and writing about the 'aftermath' of great battles and moments of history.

I found Margaret George's Helen of Troy really enjoyable in this sense in that later in the book she focused on what happened on and around the site of the city of Troy after it was gone. It was really evocative and almost made me sentimental for the greatness that had been earlier in the story.

I'll check this one out too - I really enjoyed the Odyssey so it sounds like a winner.[/quote]

I hope you will check out my two books, then, as they also deal with the aftermath of the Trojan War.

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