The Songs Of The Kings
"Troy meant one thing only to the men gathered here, as it did to their commanders. Troy was a dream of wealth; and if the wind continued the dream would crumble." As the harsh wind holds the Greek fleet trapped in the straits at Aulis, frustration and political impotence turn into a des...more
When I am done with this book, I hope to know two things: first, what "it" is, and second, what the Greeks call it.
This could have been a brilliant book, but Unsworth didn't know how to fit all the pieces together. Kennedy's story is more successful than Mitsos', because it was about how petty human weaknesses lead to tragedy and didn't rely on overblown drama. It felt more real. Mitsos as a character seemed unclear, like he wasn't fully fleshed out and didn't exist for any reason other than to serve the final scen ...more
The ancient Greeks thought the Trojan War was a historical event that had taken place in the 13th or 12th century BC.
The Trojan War has its roots in the marriage between Peleus and Thetis, a sea-goddess. Peleus and Thetis had not invited Eris, the goddess of discord, to their marriage and the outraged goddess stormed into the wedding banquet and threw a golden app ...more
Reviewers talk about how Unsworth uses the Iliad to draw out some of the inconsistencies of war in light of current events, etc. This is subtly and very well done througout the book-- Unsworth deftly weaves in "modern" thought with the story in a way that makes me wonder, has human nature changed at all? Moreover, I'm shocked by how much ...more
I was naturally predisposed to like it, as re-tellings of those myths can hardly fail.
Why did this one fail for me then?
Unsworth central stylistic conceit is to to portray the heroes as ordinary men, whic ...more
It was immediately obvious that this wasn't really my style (overly descriptive and deeply strange style of speech), but I really tried to stick with this, because I not very secretly hoped that Clytemnestra would make an appearance. I should have given up when I realized that Unsworth made every character into an obnoxious caricature based on their most easily identifiable characteristic in the Iliad. The final straw for me, though, was ...more
The whole cast is on hand in this novel: Agamemnon, Menelaus, Achilles, Odysseus, Ajax, Nestor, and so forth. Unsworth's take on this drama is smart, satirical, irreverent. The characters are all interested in self-promotion, power politics, egotistical posturing, wealth and sex ...more
I laughed out loud a few times reading this, and was totally immersed in the story. A gem.
From 1951-53, in the British Army, Royal Corps of Signals, he served and became second lieutenant.
A teacher and a novelist, Unsworth worked as a lecturer in English at Norwood Technical College, London, at University of Athens for the British Council ...more