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A Memory of Wind

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  502 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
The heroes are eager to sail to Troy for war, but the wind is still. To fill their sails and set out, they must sacrifice Agamemnon's daughter Iphigenia--and how does a human girl become the wind? The starkness and psychological insight of Rachel Swirsky’s story earned it a place among the finalists for the 2010 Nebula Award. Rachel Swirsky's short fiction has app ...more
Kindle Edition, 55 pages
Published (first published November 2009)
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NEWSFLASH...Rachel Swirsky can scribe it like an opera and make your heart go ouch! I picked up this free download on after seeing a good review by one of my fellow goodreaders (thanks J.M.) and am one very happy (and weepy) camper because I did. Set right before the Trojan War, this short story is told in the first person and tells the story of the daughter of Agamemnon who is fated to be sacrificed to the goddess Artemis so that the goddess will provide the wind necessary for the ...more
May 14, 2015 TL rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I began turning into wind the moment that you promised me to Artemis.

Before I woke, I lost the flavor of rancid oil and the shade of green that flushes new leaves. They slipped from me, and became gentle breezes that would later weave themselves into the strength of my gale.

How easy it is to be a thing but not feel it. Greatness slips into the mundanity of weaving, of pitting olives, of sitting cooped up in the megaron during storms and listening to the patter of rain on stone.

Their swords eme
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways

Rating: 2* of five

The story of Iphigenia, sacrificed by her father to Aphrodite, so the fleet carrying the Greeks could leave port. She has a very modern sensibility, does this Iphigenia, demanding the right to be happy and marry someone she loves.

This is codswallop. I doubt anyone goes to their death happily, but demanding things no woman of the time was likely even to conceptualize because it wasn't part of the universe they knew? Hm.

Oh, and Achilles is straight.

Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Original review posted at Layers of Thought.

This is the sad tale of Iphigenia, the daughter of King Agamemnon. She is sacrificed by her father to the Goddess Artemis in order to create wind so that they (the Greeks) might sail to Troy - all to avenge the “kidnap” of the unhappily married Helen of Troy (or rather her elopement with Paris - the prince of Troy).

What is so special about “A Memory of Wind” is that unlike other stories around this particular Myth, in this telling Iphigenia is not marg
Thibaut Nicodème
May 15, 2015 Thibaut Nicodème rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Thibaut by: TL
An interesting (feminist?) take on the story of Iphigenia.

Yeah, there's some slut-shaming in the beginning, but Iphigenia gets over it and realizes that, hey, this is something she's taught by society. So I can't fault the story for it.

Aside from that, really well-written and a beautiful insight into a character who is way too often neglected in this myth.

The only thing I'm not fond of is the portrayal of Achilles, but that is 100% due to me not being over The Song of Achilles, because let's fa
Tom Hansen
Aug 10, 2010 Tom Hansen rated it really liked it
Book Review: “A Memory of Wind” by Rachel Swirsky

Short Stories, they say they are a dead medium, but I find them fascinating. Some days I don’t want to sit down and start a new novel, especially since most of the books I like to read are trilogies at minimum.

This story is about a girl named Iphigenia, set in the time of the war of Troy. She becomes the wind, and this story gives us background into how she becomes the wind.

It was a nice story. It has a lot of dream-like qualities to it. Her memor
Feb 12, 2012 Tim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, short-story
A beautifully tragic short story that tells the tale of Iphigenia the daughter of Agamemnon as she's about to be sacrificed to Artemis to raise a wind to sail the fleet to Troy.

This is my first exposure to Swirsky and the quality of writing definitely means I'll be looking for other things she's written. I highly recommend this to everybody.
Sep 05, 2011 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, fiction, audio
My first audio book. I didn't think I would enjoy a book in audio but I was wrong. This was a fascinating and tragic story, and I liked the way it was narrated, almost matter-of-factly, yet with some emotion, subdued but present.
Sep 03, 2010 R.C. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
When I saw a review of this book, and found out I could download it free from (here), I was intrigued. I love stories about Greek myth -- actually, retellings of any myth -- and especially those which bring back the lost voices of women of these stories. So I downloaded it right away. It's a short story, really, so it doesn't take very long to read, and it drew me in from the first paragraphs: the way she describes Iphigenia going toward the sacrifice, losing everything she had before, i ...more
Heart wrenching. Beautiful.

Link here:
Apr 08, 2012 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I've been thinking of Helen of Troy and Cassandra all morning and then - completely by accident - stumbled upon this little story. Synchronicity be damned. In any case, A Memory of Wind is a poetic and haunting retelling of a famous myth from a perspective of a character of whom the original tells us little more than her name. Rachel Swirky's manages to breathe life into that name, make it memorable and even make us (readers) hope against hope for a different, happier ending.

I wonder if there is
Feb 14, 2015 Kimikimi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tor-com
Another short story.

It's been a long time since I've read the myths that this story is based on, so I think I'm missing a lot of depth here. That being said I faintly remember my feelings of frustration that the girls in these stories only ever have bad things happen to them, and they never seemed to DO anything. As an adult I know that it was a reflection of the culture they came from, but at the time it left a bad taste in my mouth (actually it still does). I think this story went a sm
Apr 26, 2015 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mike Ehlers
May 26, 2010 Mike Ehlers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first exposure to Swirsky (read it at ), and all I can say is she can write. The story is a retelling of the sacrifice of Iphigenia during the Trojan War to bring wind to the fleet, and the basic plot follows the more tragic versions. I enjoy retellings of these myths, even the ones that are too tragic for my tastes. But the author's style bumps it up a notch for me. I won't hesitate to read any of her short stories I come across.
Beautifully written rendering of the story of Agamenon's sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia so that his ships could sail to Troy. It is haunting and heartbreaking and powerful, and true to the original myth. It's available for free on Tor's website, or as a free ebook download; I highly recommend it.
Dec 28, 2010 J.M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Visceral, heart-rending, and excellent. This 30-page FREE download from is well worth your time, especially if you love Greek mythology or are a fan of speculative fiction. Swirsky's writing is nigh perfect here.

Five out of five stars. Highly recommended.
Jan 26, 2015 Cora rated it it was amazing
A Memory of Wind is a short story/novella that tells the story of Iphigenia, the daughter of Agamemnon, who was sacrificed to Artemis in order to have wind to power the war ships to Troy. Swirsky tells a beautiful tale of a girl who was betrayed by her father for the sake of a war caused by her aunt's actions. The descriptions really brought Iphigenia's world to life. The relationships in the book were realistic and heartbreaking, especially the bond between Iphigenia and her toddler brother Ore ...more
Oct 25, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
This is the story of Iphigenia, daughter of Agamemnon - who led the Greeks against the Trojans in the Trojan war to recover Helen, the wife of Agamemnon's brother. Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphegenia to appease the goddess Artemis, so that she would send the wind that would let the Greeks finally sail to Troy.

While this story has been told for many thousands of years, this retelling is from Iphigenia's point of view.

Very moving, still gives me chills reflecting back on the book's retell
I was attracted to this story over the summer, not so much because of the content, but because of the haunting cover. A girl with haunting eyes, a slash in her neck, and her body becoming one with the wind.
The story is about Iphigenia, the eldest daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. Helen and Paris have gone to Troy and Agamemnon, Menelaus, and Odysseus have their thousand ships waiting in the harbor, only deterred by the lack of wind. The priest of Artemis tells them that the goddess is angr
J. Ewbank
Jun 23, 2014 J. Ewbank rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
This is a fairly quick read. It is about a heroine who has to face something that most of us never dream about. It is outside my experience but it is a decent read. The past is not known to us except through books and this was definitely something we do not do today in our country.\

J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the Isms" "Wesley's Wars" and "To Whom It May Concern"
May 08, 2014 Princessjay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy

(view spoiler)

Beautifully and poetically written, as usual. The characters come alive, inexplicably drawn toward their hearts' fears and desire.
Dione Basseri
Ah, a reminder of my LOVE of Greek and Roman mythology which actually gives a VOICE to the women! The sacrifice of Iphigenia, as told by the young girl herself. At first I considered complaining about how the story revolves so much around her father but, seriously, he offered her to be murdered. It's sort of a big role and has to be covered. And so much of this story is devoted to the women in Iphigenia's life, including her mother Clytemnestra and her aunt, treacherous Helen of Troy, who turns ...more
Ashley Hennefer
Aug 21, 2015 Ashley Hennefer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology
This was an excellent and memorable short story. As someone with a passion for ancient Greek and Roman history and mythology, it was refreshing to read an interpretation of Iphigenia that gave her agency and personality. A very beautiful story that I'll revisit often.
Sara J.
May 19, 2015 Sara J. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
“I used to learn things, but now I forget them. I think I liked learning things. I need you to learn things for me now. Learn how to love someone, and how to survive a tragedy. Learn how to swing a sword, and how to convince an opponent when you have no argument but justice. Learn how to polish your armor until you become a glowing golden man, and then learn to be a flame that fuels itself. Learn to be your own wind. Will you? Will you please?”

I felt my tears falling into Orestes’s hair. He hugg
Debra Slonek
Aug 06, 2014 Debra Slonek rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
Based on Greek mythology, this short story introduces us to Iphigenia, a young girl, who was deceived, betrayed and sacrificed by her father. Her emotions and feelings were described in a hauntingly, beautiful way. She became a memory of wind.
Robin Edman
Sep 11, 2014 Robin Edman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is really beautifully written, the story of Iphigenia as she describes becoming the wind for which her father sacrificed her.
Mar 21, 2013 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really am a sucker for well written stories built on myths. Found the writing haunting and read the novella in one sitting. Did find it occasionally a bit disjointed, and it sometimes was a bit off-putting how much repetition there was.

Overall, however, I very much enjoyed. It's refreshing to see a story told from the view of Iphigenia, whose death facilitates a war and later is the impetus for multiple murders. In those stories you learn nothing more about her than the fact of her death, thi
Feb 10, 2016 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely beautiful! I can not wait to read it again & again.
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Rachel Swirsky holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop and is a graduate of Clarion West. Her work has been short-listed for the Nebula, the Hugo, and the Sturgeon Award, and placed second in 2010's Million Writers Award. In addition to numerous publications in magazines and anthologies, Swirsky is the author of three short stories published as e-books, "Eros, Philia, Agape," "The Memory of Wi ...more
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“I will be wild. I will be brutal. I will encircle you and conquer you. I will be more powerful than your boats and your swords and your blood lust. I will be inevitable.” 14 likes
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