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A Thousand Ships

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4.11  ·  Rating details ·  41,256 ratings  ·  5,686 reviews
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
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Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 26th 2021 by Harper (first published May 2nd 2019)
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Josh Hedgepeth I disagree with Natalie. I felt Haynes' narrative gave a broader look at the war that still told a complete narrative. The Silence of the Girls is mor…moreI disagree with Natalie. I felt Haynes' narrative gave a broader look at the war that still told a complete narrative. The Silence of the Girls is more zooming in on one area of it which is a narrative unto itself. Haynes' work is a unique approach that may feel somewhat disjointed, but it all comes together to tell a cohesive story if in a non traditional manner.

I don't think its just some trend. Both of these stories are telling a different story than what it's based on. The point is that these are parts of the stories that have never been told. Perhaps it will start a wave, but is that a bad thing? If there are stories untold, I would love to see them written.(less)
Candace I found nothing like an "infodump" in "A Thousand Ships." Very much in the Madeline Miller story, but spread wider to offer more points of view on eve…moreI found nothing like an "infodump" in "A Thousand Ships." Very much in the Madeline Miller story, but spread wider to offer more points of view on events both before and after the fall of Troy. Really excellent reading!(less)

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jessica
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
sometimes it feels as if my hearts only purpose is to beat for greek mythology and this book is a gift, straight from zeus himself, to give me life.

this retelling of the trojan war, including the actions that lead up to it and the consequences that followed, is quite refreshing. whilst classic myths tell about the glory and conquests of men, this focuses on the often overlooked presence of women.

elegantly written from the narration of calliope, the goddess of epic poetry, the reader is given a
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Will Byrnes
Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles, first fell out with one another. - the opening of The Iliad by Homer
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I’m not sure I could have made it more obvious, but he hasn’t
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Roman Clodia
I find it extraordinary that a classicist can claim that the women from the Trojan cycle are 'forgotten, ignored... hidden'. As if all those Athenian plays built around the figures and words of the women in these stories never existed: Euripides' The Trojan Women, Hecuba, Andromache; Aeschylus' Clytemnestra; Ovid's Heroides which rewrites epic from the points of view of women such as Penelope, Helen and Laodamia, even Ovid's Metamorphoses which gives us a subversive Calliope alongside the other ...more
Margaret M (hiatus - will check in when I can)
4/5 tragic but powerful stars for a story which reminds us that the “… casualties of war aren’t just the ones who die”.

A thousand ships, a thousand tales from an author who has shaken the stories of the siege of Troy until “… the hidden women appear in plain sight”.

A book that is beautifully crafted to incorporate the perfect amount of Greek tragedy and mythology with wonderful characterisation and the story about its women. A story that is about bravery, resilience, and slavery as women were f
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Candi
“… this is the women’s war, just as much as it is the men’s, and the poet will look upon their pain – the pain of the women who have always been relegated to the edges of the story, victims of men, survivors of men, slaves of men – and he will tell it, or he will tell nothing at all. They have waited long enough for their turn.”

I love the concept of this novel, giving voice to the women of the Trojan War, a whole lot more than I enjoyed the actual experience of reading it. I think the author did
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Dannii Elle
I am conflicted. This delivered what it set out to do, which is an account of the Trojan war from a multitude of female perspectives. My issue was that this is precisely what it did. This was a retelling of the most straight up kind. The perspectives were sometimes too brief for me to get a feel for the character behind it and others were dwelt on but never returned to, so that I felt my growing empathy severed before it had a chance to plant its roots. I appreciate Haynes for delivering this st ...more
Henk
Dec 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel I would have enjoyed this book more if I knew less of the source material. Now a lot of the short chapters feel more like a retelling or even an infodump than truly a stand alone story with fully realized characters
Survivors, victims, perpetrators: these roles are not always separate. People can be wounded and wounding at the same time, or at different times in the same life.

A Thousand Ships starts of with poetic visions of what razing a city means, fires so bright that people and birds
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Charlotte May
“She isn’t a footnote, she’s a person. And she - all the Trojan women - should be memorialised as much as any other person.”

I enjoy anything relating to Greek mythology, it’s my jam.
This book in particular grabbed my interest because it gives voice to the women during the Trojan War rather than the usual characters (Achilles, Odysseus, Agamemnon etc.) and granted, these men are obviously included. They cannot be ignored when recounting the Trojan War, but so too should the women be included.
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Debbie
I love, love, love this book!!!

Author Natalie Haynes, who narrates her novel with passion, wit and angst, was inspired by stories of the various goddesses, warriors, wives, mothers and daughters of the Trojan War, and has masterfully woven their tales into an epic of and for women!

I was especially enamored with the stories of:
1. Penelope (wife of Odysseus) - her "sharp-tongued" letters to her wayward husband just dripped with sarcasm! I was very attentive whenever her sections came up!
2. Hecuba
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Hannah Greendale
Third "read" of the 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction longlist.

DNF at page 57.

This is a slight improvement on the 2019 Women's Prize longlist nominee on the Trojan War, The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker, which claimed to offer a female perspective on the war but was ultimately dominated by the viewpoint of its male characters.

Natalie Haynes honors the women, raising their voices to provide a broader perspective on the war and its aftermath. She flits from one woman to the next, introducing
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Rosa
meh. just because a novel is written about women and/or from the perspective of women doesn't automatically make it feminist, y'all.

A Thousand Ships, despite its great premise (the story of the Trojan War told from the POVs of the women) - doesn't offer anything new and I do not understand the hype surrounding it at all. There have been other (better written) retellings of the Trojan War by women and about women long before this one.

There are probably a dozen different women telling a part of th
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Éimhear (A Little Haze)
"There are so many ways of telling a war: the entire conflict can be encapsulated in just one incident. One man's anger at the behaviour of another, say. A whole war - all 10 years of it - might be distilled into that. But this is the women's war, just as much as it is the men's, and the poet will look upon their pain - the pain of the women who have always been relegated to the edges of the story, victims of men, survivors of men, slaves of men - and he will tell it, or he will tell nothing at ...more
Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)
Jun 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is admittedly not the genre or type of book I would typically choose. It was the choice for my book club this month, and I have made a commitment to expand my horizons and read everything, and I'm very glad I did.

At first, the non-linear storytelling is difficult to grasp. The story of the Trojan War is told from the perspectives of many different women from many different timelines. I got frustrated with trying to follow, but I remembered my commitment and soldiered on. At about page 190,
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☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Q:
When a war was ended, the men lost their lives. But the women lost everything else. And victory had made the Greeks no kinder. (c)
Q:
She could see her own future as clearly as she saw everything else. Its brevity was her one consolation. (c)
Q:
She remembered the warring sensations when her father introduced them: immediate devotion mingled with a desperate presentiment of grief. (c)
Q:
Unable to bear the conversation of her parents or friends or servants, she found herself repeating the looped wal
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Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
UPDATE: MY SISTER GAVE ME A COPY. I'M NOT CRYING, YOU'RE CRYING.

I feel like I keep looking for that perfect Greek literary novel that will fill the Madeline Miller shaped hole in my life. Given that this is blurbed by the queen herself, I have high hopes.
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Ellie
Looks like female-orientated classical retellings are continuing into 2019 and you will not see me arguing with this delightful trend at allllll
Iset
Round two. I read Natalie Haynes’ book retelling the Oedipus myth a couple of years ago, and for various reasons I didn’t enjoy it (mainly, deviating so far from the myth that I didn’t think it even qualified as Oedipus any more, and making the civil war between the two princes into an overly childish shouting match). But I’ve often said that I’m reluctant to blacklist an author on the basis of one bad book – maybe they just had a dip, or that one book didn’t gel with me. Two books, however, and ...more
Linda
Apr 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shortlisted for the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction

Women who survive (or don’t survive) a war are equally as heroic as their menfolk. (p. 344).

A Thousand Ships is a retelling of the Trojan War from the women’s point of view. Natalie Haynes draws upon the Homeric epics and the plays of 5th century Athens as her sources. The book begins powerfully with war’s end and the destruction of Troy. Haynes paints a vivid picture of the fear and despair of the Trojan women as they begin to face their future
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Neale
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Longlisted for the 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction.

4.5 Stars.

This is another retelling of the Trojan War. The novel covers events which happened before and during Homer’s two epic poems, The Iliad, and The Odyssey. However, with this retelling we have something which has not been done before. The story is told from the female characters perspective. Be they mortals, queens, or gods, all the characters are female, with the male characters taking a back seat.

The story begins with the sacking of Tro
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Gabrielle
"When a war was ended, the men lost their lives. But the women lost everything else."


The reviews for this one are such a mixed bag that while I was consumed with curiosity about the subject, I was also feeling some trepidation picking it up: nothing sucks quite the way a book you wanted to love turning out bad sucks. I was both pleased and relieved that it turned out to be a smooth and satisfying read.

After the end of the Trojan War, the women (and nymphs and goddesses) who were involved in this
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Marquise
Not as terrible as her Oedipan retelling, but Haynes' take on the Trojan War has the same issues as the former, starting with her repeated mistake that in wanting to retell a Greek myth in a more modern mindset-friendly redo, she ends up missing the point of the original. In this case, the reason for the Achaeans going to war with Troy is absurd to the point of unbelievability. I don't mind that they shift the traditional blaming it on Helen for a different casus belli in retellings, it can be d ...more
✰ Aileen ✰
Mar 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology, paperback
I have sung of death and of life, of joy and of pain.
I have sung of life after death.
And I have sung of the women, the women in the shadows.
I have sung of the forgotten, the ignored, the untold. I have picked up the old stories and I have shaken them until the hidden women appear in plain sight. I have celebrated them in song because they have waited long enough. Just as I promised him: this was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of all of them. A war does not ignore half
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exploraDora
A Thousand Ships is a beautiful retelling of the Trojan War. I am a huge fan of Greek mythology and this one did not disappoint!

It's telling the stories of the women who were left behind to whatever Fate had planned for them, outside of the long war.

All the characters are rich and while the details flesh out a well known and worn out story, it also offers a fresh perspective. I can't believe this book has not received more attention.

Well written, moving and real.
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Maureen
Oct 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful retelling of the Iliad and the Odyssey told in the voices of the female characters.
We begin with the list of endless characters, each with its family history.
I constantly referred back while reading the book.I also googled some names just to fully understand the story. It was confusing sometimes with the different times. Some of the stories were told in non chronological order,but as you read the story it all came together.

The Trojan Women
“The women were waiting on the shore gazing bl
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Sara
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars.

A Thousand Ships is an epic undertaking, tackling not only The Trojan War but it’s long and drawn out aftermath, all told from the women’s perspective. Always there, ever present, this is their story. From slave to queen to goddess, this is how they all became involved in the mighty Trojan War and what befell them when the great city burned.

I would say that before going into this you need at least a small amount of background knowledge re
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Annette
Jan 03, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: mythology
Creusa wakes to see angry orange light flickering all over the city. Then, with the shouting of men she realizes that she doesn’t recognize the dialect. The Greeks are in the city of Troy.

Before that when the tall Greek ships sailed away, the Trojans opened the gates to find the strangest wooden horse. They debated what to do with it. At the end, the horse was rolled inside the city.

Afterwards, the women of Troy belong to Greek men.

The story alternates among voices of women of Troy and others,
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Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Now published in paperback.

I’m not offering him the story of one woman during the Trojan War, I’m offering him the story of all the women in the war. Well, most of them (I haven’t decided about Helen yet. She gets on my nerves). I’m giving him the chance to see the war from both ends: how it was caused, and how its consequences played out.


I read this book due to its longlisting for the 2020 Women’s Prize - for which it has now been shortlisted.

I had already been drawn to it by: my enjoyment
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Hannah
I am, in many ways, the perfect reader for this book: I have been interested in and reading books about the Trojan War for around 20 years, and thus have an emotional connection to these women already and general knowledge about what happened when in this sprawling story. But this also means that when Haynes makes character decisions I do not agree with, I super do not agree with them. My favourite book of all time is Kassandra – which should give you an indication how seriously I adore her. Als ...more
Eric Anderson
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Haynes begins her novel with the explicit and noble mission to give voice to women from Greek mythology – many of whom were only ever portrayed as minor, unheroic and simplistic characters. This is a necessary and much-welcome endeavour because, aside from the feminist point of view this adds to these male-dominated tales written by men, telling the story from the women’s perspective gives a rich opportunity for retelling these classic stories and shows there is still so much more to say about t ...more
Tammy
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Dust off your knowledge of the Trojan War or reread The Iliad because this novel is a lively feminist retelling of the war that was ignited by the judgement of Paris also known as the golden apple of discord (my favorite portion of the book). Petty, spiteful, and indifferent gods and goddesses abound causing suffering, longing, and sacrifice experienced and told by the women caught up in this ten-year war. Cassandra is pitiful in her ignored knowledge of events yet to come, Penelope is amusing i ...more
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Natalie Haynes, author of THE FURIES (THE AMBER FURY in the UK), is a graduate of Cambridge University and an award-winning comedian, journalist, and broadcaster. She judged the Man Booker Prize in 2013 and was a judge for the final Orange Prize in 2012. Natalie was a regular panelist on BBC2’s Newsnight Review, Radio 4’s Saturday Review, and the long-running arts show, Front Row. She is a guest c ...more

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“It does hurt, I whispered. It should hurt. She isn't a footnote, she's a person. And she - all the Trojan women - should be memorialised as much as any other person.” 62 likes
“But this is a women's war, just as much as it is the men's, and the poet will look upon their pain - the pain of the women who have always been relegated to the edges of the story, victims of men, survivors of men, slaves of men - and he will tell it, or he will tell nothing at all. They have waited long enough for their turn.” 58 likes
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