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Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  697 ratings  ·  201 reviews
In fierce, textured voices, the women of Ovid's Metamorphoses claim their stories and challenge the power of myth

I am the home of this story. After thousands of years of other people's tellings, of all these different bridges, of words gotten wrong, I'll tell it myself.

Seductresses and she-monsters, nymphs and demi-goddesses, populate the famous myths of Ovid's Metamorphos
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 19th 2019 by FSG Originals
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  697 ratings  ·  201 reviews

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Amalia Gkavea
Nov 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
Altering myths in the most vulgar, trashy way possible to communicate pseudo-contemporary/wanna-be revolutionary, feminist messages is ridiculous. It's been done to death and it's tiring. Before you decide to mess with Greek Mythology, projecting modern values, learn a) not to use vulgar contemporary colloquialisms, and b) respect the original material.

I've had enough of average writers violating Greek culture because they are unable to come up with some form of original material.
˗ˏˋ aphrodite ˊˎ˗
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
this has to be one of the most impactful books I’ve read in a long time.

I cannot begin to describe how gut wrenching and enlightening this book is. it is extremely hard to read and has countless triggers (sexual abuse, physical abuse, depression, among many others) but my god did it leave its mark.

this book gives voice to women of ovid’s metamorphosis and shows the brutality they faced in these stories. it is angry, it’s devastating, and it’s absolutely empowering.

this book is not for everyon
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
If the folks in Ovid’s Metamorphoses were from New York and somewhat uncouth, they might sound like these retelling of their stories from MacLaughlin. Some of the reworking are fun in terms of humor and eroticism, but I didn’t really feel like these offered new insights or changed the relevance of the stories. There’s a lot of justifiable anger in the stories, but little in the way of new reckonings or new angles, Still, thiis collection might find a home in literature classes on adaptation or r ...more
Jackie (Jacademic)
This past Spring, I taught a unit on contemporary feminist re-imaginings of the Classics and I sincerely wish I could have included Wake, Siren in my syllabus, as Nina MacLaughlin's retellings of tales from The Metamorphoses were as unflinching, cathartic, and ferociously feminist as I'd hoped they would be.

Fair warning: this is often a difficult read due to its explicit handling of sexual violence (given the source material, however, and the project undertaken by Wake, Siren, that was not a su
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 Stars - Great book

I am loving the trend of myths becoming popular in modern literature. MacLaughlin does a great job of taking stories in which women traditionally had subordinate roles and were constantly demeaned and giving women the power to tell their own stories. The characters have a modern vocabulary. The juxtaposition is interesting and personally I felt that it added to the stories (or most of them) rather than detract from them.

Since this book is a collection of stories, some are st
Anna (lion_reads)
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
3.5 stars

Um, so content warning for everything from rape to incest and other extreme, really, brace yourselves.

I thought this was quite an interesting collection. I remember liking Ovid's Metamorphoses, but if you've read Greek/Roman myths, you know they come with an aftertaste of fucked up. (WHY is Zeus allowed to scamper around the countryside turning into animals and surprising unsuspecting women with sex?) Nina MacLaughlin dials all of that up and brings the stories into the mo
Booky Nooky
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
For anyone that enjoys mythology or the novels of Madeline Miller, WAKE, SIREN: OVID RESUNG is perfect for you! It provides a bold, new twist on the classics! The book is a retelling of the famous myths of Ovid's Metamorphoses from the perspectives of the nymphs, demi-goddesses, seductresses, and she-monsters! Whereas Ovid's women are passive objects, in WAKE, SIREN the women are the narrators of their own experiences: the story of the chase comes from the woman fleeing not the God pursuing her ...more
April Taylor
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Well written but should probably come with a trigger warning stamped across the cover. It was difficult to get through some of the stories, including the first one. You'll never see the myths that inspired this book the same way again. Of course, the original tales were always filled with sexual assault, rage, and the.degradation of most women. Seeing them in this context made it so much worse, though.

The voices within the book change from story to story, ranging from those that are rooted in th
Kaffeeklatsch and Books
I liked the concept, but with some stories I couldn't get into the writing style at all. Sometimes it reads like poetry and other times modern day slang, which was the one which threw me off the most.
I like the variety and the darkness. There's lots to discuss and this would be ideal for a book club.
Again realizing how gruesome and sexist most of the Greek mythology is.
I always wonder why I'm still fascinated by it?

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an eARC.
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, that-cover-tho
Tiresias: Was it punishment, being turned into a woman? I don’t know. Is it punishing to be a woman? It is. It will continue to be.
This collection is a slap in the face… followed by a gut-punch. Rinse. Repeat. Seriously. The hits just keep on coming. It isn’t news that Greco-Roman myths are filled with violence, vengeance and misery. But, reading them in this collection crystallizes this in a way that is brutal and heavy and horrible... But, also really awesome.
I know, make up your mind, right?
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
(4.5 stars)

*trigger warning for mention of sexual violence in review and a general trigger warning for the book in general*

I’m incredibly irritated with the reviews critiquing the vulgarity of this book. How it “disrespects” original narratives. I read this book as a reclamation. Rape is vulgar. Much more vulgar than the language Maclaughlin has used here. To give voice to the cast of women in the book the author chose to engage in a level of vulgarity, and justifiably, righteous anger. Parts a
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was absolutely fantastic. A retelling of many of the tales from Ovid’s Metamorphoses in a very original and powerful way. I love how some of the stories have a contemporary setting. Not for the squeamish, these tales are brutal in their honesty and I was moved to tears by how beautifully they are told. Highly recommend!
Dec 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
Disgusting, trashy, vulgar. I had the worst time getting through this book. I can’t believe my local bookstore gave it so much praise. I love Mythology and this was just a horrible modern day take on it. Read Circe.
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nina!!! You goddamn genius!!!
Hannah Moore
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Forget your zodiac sign, which mythology were you obsessed with as a child?

For me, it was Greek mythology. I'm not sure what it was-- maybe it was the fact that the gods themselves tended to be directly responsible for all of their own problems. Maybe it was the amount of talking animals. Maybe I just thought the names sounded pretty. But regardless, I loved Greek mythology more than breath. I had that big yellow book of myths, I read children's literature starring the gods (somehow never read t
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
McLaughlin powerfully imagines Ovid's metamorphoses from the perspective of the (mostly) women at the heart of each tale. By turns lyrical, erotic, funny, these portraits are an exercise in voice, and they attest to the centrality of rape culture to Western literature. It transforms these well-known stories (speaking of metamorphoses!) to give the women subjectivity--to give them desires that deviate from Jupiter's, fear and dread, and traumatic memory that endures even beyond their transformati ...more
Abi López Ortiz
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lupercal
Nina MacLaughlin was bold enough to reinterpret Ovid’s Metamorphoses in a contemporary setting, which may not be to everyone’s taste. At first, I thought it could be a downer, but I was easily captured by her prose. I love it when people dare to retell the classics, I find it really necessary.

Some might be stricken by the use of modern slang, but what’s truly outrageous is how contemporary those voices sound, the amount of hate and violence we still have to endure.

Is it punishing to be a woman?
Mar 27, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a very hard-to-read, powerful book. The author essentially retells stories from Ovid's "The Metamorphoses" through the voices of nearly exclusively female characters. The style was overall a little bit too YA-ish for my taste (at times I felt like I was reading a version of Percy Jackson written for 20-somethings rather than middle schoolers), but there were also moments of real poetic beauty. These moments made the themes somewhat easier to deal with, because at its heart, this book is ...more
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
How can a book possibly be so many things? Some of the most beautifully descriptive writing I've ever read. Some chapters had me chuckling out loud while others were like a punch to the chest. Nina MacLaughlin is magical. ...more
Kara Voorhees
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Nina McLaughlin provides and exceptional reworking of myths in a modern voice. Purists should relax and enjoy this new take on old stories. As a serious Greek and Roman mythology fan, it was refreshing to read familiar tales in unfamiliar voices. It galvanized my love of mythology and caused me to return to old favorites and discover new reads.
It's interesting to see a book so divisive as this with the reviews! I have to say, I DNFed it. Not because I wasn't enjoying it, per se, but in part because it suffers from what I struggle with Greek/Roman mythology to begin with--the stories all really start to sound the same. Namely Zeus (or other gods) raping like there's no tomorrow and women suffering the consequences. McLaughlin certainly makes the point that women have been dealing with violence and inequality since time immemorial; I ap ...more
Julie (boogsbooks) Chigbrow
“And all those gods, all those deathless ones. They never met regret. They don’t fear mistakes because they don’t know consequences. Never guilty, never punished. I showed you all, showed each crime, showed all you criminals. And yet we’re the ones to pay. How’s it work? You murder. You rape. You violate. And it’s us who fall. Why am I the only one to say it? I say the names of all the fallen.”⁠

It’s no wonder women have been hunted and degraded, femininity mocked and pitied in a world whose old
James Kozubek
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
What people are saying about this book is true. It oscillates between breathtaking prose and sections of execrable. You could argue this owes something to the author's ability to move between social strata, or you could opine that it demonstrates some failure at integration. I don't know enough about the author's intents to say which is more true.

First, this is not a novel. It is a series of parables or stories, which are recast from a female perspective. My main objection is that there is no ar
Sarah Celino
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
The idea for Wake, Siren came to Nina MacLaughlin one late winter morning. She had been rereading The Metamorphosis, and found herself entranced with the story of Callisto, a nymph raped by Juno (Zeus) and transformed into a bear, then a constellation (the Big Dipper) by Jove (Hera).

Initially MacLaughlin thought rewriting the story from Callisto's perspective would make for a good writing exercise. So pleased with the result she moved on to the story of Daphne. Then another. And another. The ot
Mitch Loflin
Jun 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Ok so generally speaking...I don’t love this. It’s reimaginings of the stories of 30 or so of the mythological women from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, some of which have been reimagined in a modern context - fun! A lot of them highlight how integral sexual violence, almost exclusively against women, is to the Greco-Roman mythological canon - absolutely!

Most of the mappings of the stories though feel really literal and ham-fisted (Orpheus and Eurydice as rockstars with Hades as a nightclub owner named “
Ashleigh Spicy Geek
I received an advanced readers copy of this book through NetGalley in return for my honest feedback.

I went into this book thinking I would like it because of the mythology and I absolutely loved it. MacLaughlin is amazing at having a different voice for everyone in each chapter which is a task in itself because there are so many different characters. This isn’t like the old mythology you’re used to, this is updated to be easier to read and relate to and show just how terrible the Gods were to mo
violet marie
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
amazing how all the negative reviews either don’t want to read about mythology or feminism. read the back of the book, maybe?! hah.

it’s a beautiful book of stories told true to the classic myths. yes they are devastating and triggering but that is something you go into the book knowing if you know who ovid is... since you know... it’s “ovid resung” survivors of sexual violence such as myself can find solace and power in the narratives written. ovid writes rape in the traditional definition (rap
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it
sometimes quite tongue-in-cheek, sometimes trashy, but also sometimes quite poetic – i’m a big fan of mythologies, so i was quite amused by this rewriting of Ovid’s Metamorphosis –
Since i’m not a purist, i wasn’t shocked at all by this book – i like it when authors take characters of ancient stories and make a new story out of it
Tammy V
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
the blurb on this book starts off: In fierce, textured voices, the women of Ovid's Metamorphoses claim their stories and challenge the power of myth

Accent on "fierce." You can also add: unrelenting, no holds barred, nothing held bad descriptions.

Definite trigger warning on this book: if reading what is glossed in the myths (rape, mostly, by gods and mistreatment by jealous goddesses) in modern day words will set you off, do not read this book.

It is most excellently written. There are leaps into
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Nina MacLaughlin is the author of Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung, a re-telling of Ovid's Metamorphoses told from the perspective of the female figures transformed, as well as Summer Solstice: An Essay. Her first book was the acclaimed memoir Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter. Formerly an editor at the Boston Phoenix, she is now a columnist for the Boston Globe and her work has appeared in or on the ...more

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