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Jocasta: The Mother-Wife of Oedipus
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Featured Author Group Reads > FA Group Read #4- Jocasta by Victoria Grossack (Author Participation)

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message 1: by Jackie, That's Her Constableness to you! (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jackie (TheNightOwl) | 3108 comments Book discussion will take place here. Please remember to mark all spoilers!

As a reminder, Victoria is able to participate in the discussion in this thread. Click here if you want to discuss the book without author participation.

Happy Reading!

***Thread will be opened on March 15th for comments***


message 2: by Jackie, That's Her Constableness to you! (last edited Mar 14, 2012 05:37PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jackie (TheNightOwl) | 3108 comments I'm opening the thread now because I just know I'm going to forget to do so tomorrow :)


Some words from Victoria Grossack, which were posted in the giveaway thread:

If you want to get started sooner, you can order hard copy from nearly any online bookstore, and electronic versions from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The electronic versions are significantly cheaper and delivery is reliably quicker, so I recommend that. However, some people really prefer hard copy – and the book is quite nice.

There is a map of the city of Thebes in the book. It is also available in the electronic editions – you have to go to the very beginning of the book to find it, before the text starts – but graphics on e-readers are not always that good. Hence, if you want a version that is easier to see, go to our website www.tapestryofbronze.com/Maps.html . The website also contains a pronunciation guide and some background information on our books.

This book is self-published (except for the Greek edition) and so it will not be easy to find in libraries. However, you – as a patron - can always ask your local library to stock it. They may say no, but who knows – they may say yes! After all, libraries are supposed to buy books.


Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) (lmironside) | 289 comments I started reading this book a few days ago to get a jump on the group read. I am about 40% of the way through, according to my Kindle. So far I am enjoying it, although I am finding Jocasta to be very self-centered. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I occasionally find it tough to sympathize with her since she rarely sympathizes with other people.

But the plot itself is driving forward nicely and I keep turning pages! As some reviewers have pointed out, even though I know how it will end (being familiar with the Oedipus myth), I still feel compelled to read on. That's the mark of a well-developed plot.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments We discussed at length that part of her character and finally concluded that a teenager - which is what she was in the first half - had to be limited in how much she could empathize with others, especially the woman who plays Camilla in the triangle.


Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) (lmironside) | 289 comments Makes sense!


Laura Gill | 320 comments Victoria, I hope it isn't too early to mention later events in the book. I was impressed by how it wasn't necessarily a sin that Jocasta had unwittingly slept with her own son (i.e. she and the Thebans weren't punished for that), and how it was only later, when she knowingly sinned. That was always something I never liked about some of the Greek tragedies: that players were punished for crimes they weren't even aware they'd committed.


Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) (lmironside) | 289 comments Yes -- Greek mythology always struck me as particularly brutal. I like it; don't get me wrong. It's juts a dog-eat-dog world between the covers of Bullfinch's.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments Laura wrote: "Victoria, I hope it isn't too early to mention later events in the book. I was impressed by how it wasn't necessarily a sin that Jocasta had unwittingly slept with her own son (i.e. she and the Th..."

I might disagree with your interpretation, actually, or at least point out that there is another way of looking at it (given the sacrifice of a certain person)! But what we try to do is give enough so that there are multiple interpretations.


message 9: by Laura (last edited Mar 15, 2012 11:44PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura Gill | 320 comments I felt that the sacrifice of a particular person only held off the storm because s/he wasn't the sacrifice that was required, and it should have been a certain other character from the get-go, and Jocasta knew that.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments Yes, that was the point. But the sacrifice was required before that.

I'm sure you're familiar with Herodotus, and the great stories about Croesus. Croesus complains that his offerings to Apollo at Delphi were ignored, while Delphi retorts, not at all! We postponed your misfortune for three years as a result!

I've always loved that morsel.


Laura Gill | 320 comments Victoria_Grossack wrote: "Yes, that was the point. But the sacrifice was required before that.

I'm sure you're familiar with Herodotus, and the great stories about Croesus. Croesus complains that his offerings to Apoll..."


I have to admit, it's a bit harder to flip back and check with an ebook, and I'm not feeling the best right now, so I'll leave others to comment. I just wanted to point out that you always have such clever interpretations on the myths.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments Laura wrote: "...I just wanted to point out that you always have such clever interpretations on the myths.
..."


*blushes* Thanks! But remember, it is not just me, but my co-author, Alice Underwood!


Laura Gill | 320 comments Victoria_Grossack wrote: "Laura wrote: "...I just wanted to point out that you always have such clever interpretations on the myths.
..."

*blushes* Thanks! But remember, it is not just me, but my co-author, Alice Und..."


But Alice never says anything! ;)

Now I'm going to cough and ache and curl up with the cats.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments Get well, Laura!

And I will see if I can get Alice to join us, at least on weekends. However, she has been dealt major stressors in several areas of her life lately.


message 15: by Alice (new) - added it

Alice Underwood | 3 comments Apologies for my silence... I've been insanely busy with my day job lately plus dealing with an illness in the family.

But I am so thrilled that the group is reading and discussing Jocasta! I will do my best to check in over the weekends...


message 16: by Kate (new)

Kate Quinn | 731 comments Actually, I have a question for Victoria and Alice on your writing process for this. How exactly DOES one collaborate on writing a novel? Do you alternate chapters; or does one person do the writing and the other the research?


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments Kate wrote: "Actually, I have a question for Victoria and Alice on your writing process for this. How exactly DOES one collaborate on writing a novel? Do you alternate chapters; or does one person do the writ..."

We've been asked this question many, many times. After we agree on the basic project, I usually do the first draft - but the drafts are very drafty, as if an artist were sketching only stick figures. The reason that I have been assigned this is because we have discovered that I have a talent for twists and tension. Then Alice comes through and changes everything! Seriously, she has an eye for detail and description so she adds these things if she agrees with the general direction. Her vocabulary is much larger than mine; I used to have to look up words I did not know. If I have a word she does not know, it's a typo...

We go through many drafts. We have a huge spreadsheet with all our different characters and the major events in their lives - our books all fit together - and other data, such as symbols associated with different cities. We also have maps. Google maps is really cool these days, as it supplies the time needed to walk between places!

As I said, we've been asked this question a lot, so if you want more, check out this page: www.tapestryofbronze.com/AbouttheAuth... and scroll down to the section called "Writing Together."


Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) (lmironside) | 289 comments I finished Jocasta last night and on the whole really enjoyed it! Here is my review, for those who are interested. Spoilers are hidden. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

I will most definitely check out the rest of the books in the series. I am impressed at the cohesiveness of this book, given that it was co-authored. Well done, Alice and Victoria!

...any chance I can convince you to add Melanthe's story to Tapestry of Bronze? Pretty please? I thought she was an amazing character!


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments Glad you enjoyed it, Lavender! Remember, the other books form a trilogy so although they can be read out of order, I think they work better if you read them chronologically.

We will have to think about Melanthe.


Belles Livres (BellesLivres) | 36 comments I read this book a little while ago and really enjoyed it - here's my review:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

Here's a nonspoiler paragraph with my impressions.

Some may think that with all these hard names, that it’s going to be a hard book. It is not a hard book. Nor is it a shallow book. Despite the suck-you-in nature of the story, deeper issues are explored. Many Greeks had an attitude that your score at your death determined whether or not you led a happy life – but Jocasta challenges this, and challenges those around her, to live and love despite what the Fates have planned.

And, as long as I have the authors here, let me ask why you went from using the spelling "Kreon" in the Niobe trilogy to "Creon" in Jocasta?


message 21: by Victoria_Grossack (last edited Mar 25, 2012 10:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments First, Belles, thanks for reading the entire series! We hope you enjoyed them!

Second, you’re right about Kreon/Creon. We can simply say that it is a mistake (and it is) – but it’s a mistake with a history. We began this series with names that we thought were better transliterations of the originals, so instead of “Jocasta” we were using “Iokaste.” However, after many years of representation, our agent was still stumbling over the pronunciation of “Iokaste,” and we realized that if she could not pronounce the name of our main character, there was a good chance that many others could not either. (Maybe that’s why we were able to get a Greek publisher but not one in English!) So we decided to change many of the names to the more common English spellings, reasoning that they were hard enough for today’s readers. Unfortunately we missed changing the “Kreon” back to “Creon” in Arrows of Artemis: Niobe and Chloris.

By the way, if anyone wants to listen to Alice pronounce the names – and she gives just one version of them; others are just as valid – go to www.tapestryofbronze.com/Pronounce.html .


Laura Gill | 320 comments Victoria_Grossack wrote: "First, Belles, thanks for reading the entire series! We hope you enjoyed them!

Second, you’re right about Kreon/Creon. We can simply say that it is a mistake (and it is) – but it’s a mistake w..."


It looks like you're starting to incorporate names from the Clytemnestra novel. *gleefully rubs hands together*


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments Ah, Laura, it will take a while for us to get to Clytemnestra!

We have common names outside of the characters in our books because some a number of teachers have linked to that page. That's something we have tried to do as much of as we can - support education and learning, in our own miniscule way.


Laura Gill | 320 comments Victoria_Grossack wrote: "Ah, Laura, it will take a while for us to get to Clytemnestra!

We have common names outside of the characters in our books because some a number of teachers have linked to that page. That's some..."


Nuts! Now I have to find another way to feed my fascination with the House of Atreus.


Julia Gallagher (juliagallagher) | 12 comments My apologies for joining late! I've had a rough, busy few weeks at work combined with the flu (the kind where you're too sick to even read in bed all day). I'm looking forward to joining the discussion and hope I'm not too late!


message 26: by Victoria_Grossack (last edited Mar 27, 2012 10:48PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments Julia wrote: "My apologies for joining late! I've had a rough, busy few weeks at work combined with the flu (the kind where you're too sick to even read in bed all day). I'm looking forward to joining the discus..."

I've had a flu like that in the past, where you're so sick that you realize that people can die from it. Take care of yourself, and get plenty of vitamins! And it's never too late (or too soon) to read Jocasta. Of course I believe that Jocasta: The Mother-Wife of Oedipus will help entertain you through your recovery (there is nothing like a good book in these cases). I'm also going to plug it as an interesting choice for Mother's Day...


message 27: by Julia (last edited Apr 01, 2012 09:55PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Julia Gallagher (juliagallagher) | 12 comments I just wanted to say that I finished Jocasta: The Mother-Wife of Oedipus this weekend! While I was definitely looking forward to reading it, I'll admit that I was a little nervous that it would be a bit dry. And it was anything but! So bravo, ladies. I really, really enjoyed the read. I love a book that reads fast and really immerses you, and this book did that for me.

I came into reading this with minimal knowledge of the Oedipus story beyond the basic myth. I found Jocasta's character development to be interesting, and not always what I expected (not saying that as a negative). I'm wondering how you pieced together which version of the story you wanted to tell. For instance, Jocasta seemed to come to the conclusion of the truth earlier than I was expecting.


(view spoiler)

Thanks for your participation, Victoria! I love getting the chance to interact with authors.


message 28: by Victoria_Grossack (last edited Apr 02, 2012 11:25PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments So glad you enjoyed it, Julia! And it’s true that many people do expect it will be dry and dull, because they remember yawning over long passages of Greek tragedies back in their youth.

Now, to address your question about Jocasta and what she knew. (view spoiler)

Hope this helps!


Faith Justice | 630 comments Finished the book this weekend and truly enjoyed it. I particularly liked the way the authors dealt with mythic creatures and godly interventions in a realistic way. I did have one question for the authors (and apologies in advance for the boring philosophical nature of this): Jocasta contemplates the nature of free will a couple of times during the narrative, wondering how much influence the gods have on an individual's life. She even speculates that Laius could have lived a happy life, if he just accepted the gods' will and lived day to day. But it wasn't clear to me whether she accepted the prophecies as inevitable when she put the pieces together or even at the end. Did she feel she could have avoided her fate, if she did something different? Of course that's the heart of much Greek tragedy...people trying to avoid the fates decreed by the gods and causing the prophecy to come to pass.

Interestingly, just heard an atheist arguing for the non-existence of free will based on physics which is too complicated to explain here (entangled muons and charmed particles--not sure I quite understand it myself!) In any case, theists and atheists are still debating the nature of free will. Whether in fiction or life, it's a troubling concept (and a bit esoteric.) I may or may not have free will, but chose to act as if I do. Did people of those times feel/act differently?

Again, apologies for taking this thread in such a direction. Your book was the jumping off point for a very spirited brunch discussion on this topic.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments So happy that you enjoyed it, Faith! And I don’t mind the philosophical questions at all. In fact, I’m thrilled that the book inspires such questions, because in spite of its being a quick and hopefully entertaining read, we did try to incorporate some deeper themes.

So, Jocasta and free will and the gods! My answer is based on some things that happen inside the book, so I’m hiding it here. (view spoiler)

As for free will, I think I’d turn to biology and chemistry before worrying about subatomics. I believe a lot of how we think and act is strongly influenced by both our environment and our chemistry and our general health.

Anyway, how did people back then behave? As if they had free will? I think back then it was an enormous spectrum, the same as it is now. There would be those who consulted the gods before stepping outside; others who tried to bribe and manipulate their way; others who simply ignored everything to do with deities. I have found all of these attitudes in the classical literature of the Greeks – Plato, Herodotus, Aristotle, and the Tragedians – and even some Romans, so I think we can say that there was a variety of attitudes.

As for Laius, his back story is in the trilogy prequel about Niobe. Of course Jocasta has reason to be irritated by him, but his character is understandable when you discover what he went through as a boy and as a young man.


Silver I am behind the discussion as I was not able to start reading the book until the start of this month. I have not advanced far yet, but so far I am enjoying. I not that long ago read The Oedipus plays by Sophocles, and I am sort of inundated in Greek mythology right now, being that I just recently finished The Iliad, and am currently reading The Odyssey and a play Trojan Women by Erupides. So I am quite curious to see this interpretation of the myth.

I have to say I really enjoyed the interpretation of the Tiresias character. I liked the idea of presenting the character as being more of a title/position, opposed to it actually being a specific individual. Also I thought it was interesting have the Tiresias as a woman. I really enjoyed the ritual of the choosing of the bride. Thus far I like the way this book captures aspects of Geek culture and their views and relations to the gods.


message 32: by Victoria_Grossack (last edited Apr 03, 2012 09:27AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments Silver wrote: "I have to say I really enjoyed the interpretation of the Tiresias character. I liked the idea of presenting the character as being more of a title/position, opposed to it actually being a specific individual. Also I thought it was interesting have the Tiresias as a woman."

Jocasta is only one of a series of books we have been writing, which we call the Tapestry of Bronze. "Bronze" is obvious - the events take place in the Late Bronze Age. It's also best known as the "Golden Age of Heroes" but we think many of the heroes are not pure gold, but are more alloyed bronze. We chose the word "tapestry" because that was how women, especially, recorded their stories in the time when the ability to write was so limited. In fact, we often show scenes with two or more women weaving - it's our Alfred Hitchcockian way of inserting ourselves metaphorically into the books.

Anyway, because the books in the Tapestry of Bronze (www.tapestryofbronze.com) are consistent with each other and the Tiresias makes a series of appearances over a time that could span a couple hundred years, a single individual could not reasonably be in all the stories. Furthermore, in one of the myths associated with the Tiresias, s/he is a woman part of the time. (In the myths, Zeus and Hera, arguing about whether men or women enjoy sex more, consult the Tiresias, who has been both male and female and so can answer the question.) So having different people in that role was the only way we could manage it, and Jocasta: The Mother-Wife of Oedipus begins with a woman as the Tiresias.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments Another thought about changing the person in the role of the Tiresias: there's precedent in how they changed the woman who was the Pythia.

For those who may not know, the Pythia was always one of the local women at Delphi. She would sit at the oracle and mutter in such a way that was interpreted by one of Apollo's priests, thus giving an answer to the petitioner with a question.

Recent investigations have shown that Delphi is situated where two geological faults meet, and so gases were coming out of the ground, which helped the Pythia enter her trance. Most of the gas has evaporated by now but some was trapped as bubbles in rocks and dried mud, which allowed researchers to do a chemical analysis.

And I'm straying from the story...


Silver During the discussion of the Iliad I had with another group the subject came up of the way in which there seemed to be some resistance against the prospects of the son becoming greater than the father. There was the fear of them not wanting to have to confront their own mortality, as well as the acknowledgement that the as their sons start to come into their own it marks their own decline, in addition to knowing they would soon have to give over their kingdoms, and struggling against that. In such an honor bond culture I think there was also the fear of their own achievements and glory being overshadowed if their sons have greater accomplishments than they had.

The discussion between Queen Niboe and Jocasta after she was selected as the bride really made me think about that concept. In a way it seemed as if Nibore was going through a same thing in which the Queen was fearful of the prospects of her future daughter-in-lap becoming greater than she herself was. In addition to her now being confronted with this young woman who was destined for the throne she herself had held. It must have brought the thoughts of her death much closer to home.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments I agree that the competition between generations is something you see frequently in Greek mythology. It was particularly intense among the gods. As they could not die, it mattered even more. Cronos swallowed his children to keep them from growing up and overthrowing him - of course, that made Zeus's siblings even angrier with their father!

I think it's most intense among males, and we use it in one of our other books Children of Tantalus. Tantalus, by the way, is Niobe's father.

I agree that Niobe could be feeling that her reputation was threatened by Jocasta in this scene for the reason you gave, but there are plenty of other sources of tension. Many mothers-in-law are wary of their sons' brides; Niobe wanted the Tiresias to pick someone else; and there is a long history of antipathy between Niobe and the Tiresias (which you don't see so much in Jocasta but you do in the other books as they focus on Niobe). Also, Jocasta is a beauty, which Niobe never was; Jocasta is the local girl, and is therefore more popular, whereas Niobe is the foreign queen.

And of course anyone who became a king or a queen back then had to be both ambitious and even competitive and at least somewhat ruthless. Anything else is unrealistic.

My avatar here is a picture of me in front of the Niobe rock in Manisa, Turkey, which is where Niobe went after leaving Thebes (and she supposedly turned into stone, too).


Silver I enjoyed the way in which the incident in which the house of Amphion was struck down could be seen as somewhat open to interpretation.

On the one hand considering the relationship that the Greeks had with the gods, and the fact that they very much believed that the gods were an active presence within their lives, and believed the gods did interfere and influence the lives of men, it is perfectly plausible to accept that the illness truly was a curse from Apollo, and Laius was destined by fate to be King of Thebes.

On other than, considering the rather conveniently timely arrive of Laius, and his foresight of the event, an reflecting upon the conversation between Queen Niobe and Jocasta about the corruption in men and how they at times use the voice of the gods for their own gains, it does I think leave room for one to wonder if in fact Laius had a hand in the sudden illness.

This line I thought was somewhat telling and puts suspicion in the mind of the reader:

"The gods apparently gave King Pelops the same dream; he assisted Claus and his men with supplies"

Also interesting that it was specifically pointed out that Locusta had eaten nothing during the events.


message 37: by Victoria_Grossack (last edited Apr 06, 2012 01:18AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments Silver wrote: "I enjoyed the way in which the incident in which the house of Amphion was struck down could be seen as somewhat open to interpretation."

The deaths in the house of Amphion – usually called the deaths of the “Niobids” – is something that intrigued us. The myth of the Niobids, in which Niobe insulted the mother of the gods Apollo and Artemis, and they killed her children as a result, is what made Niobe famous, and why she supposedly turned into a weeping stone back on Mount Sipylus in Turkey (I’m in front of that stone in my picture).

When we were doing our research for Jocasta: The Mother-Wife of Oedipus, we discovered that Laius, Jocasta’s first husband, spent a lot of time in exile with King Pelops. And who was King Pelops? Niobe’s brother! (And they are both children of Tantalus.) The relationships made it clear that these people were not only alive at the same time, but that they knew each other – that they interacted with each other. (view spoiler)

We became so fascinated by Niobe and Pelops, Laius and Amphion and a number of characters who we discovered in the myths, that we wrote a trilogy about them: Children of Tantalus, The Road to Thebes: Niobe and Amphion, and Arrows of Artemis: Niobe and Chloris.

Pelops, Niobe’s brother, has influence even today, thousands of years later. The Peloponnesus, which can be translated as “island of Pelops” is the name of the southern peninsula of Greece – still named for him. He was also known for having a chariot race which was the inspiration for the Ancient Olympics. If you go to the ruins of Olympia, and look carefully, you can find the spot where they sacrificed a ram to him before the beginning each of the Ancient Olympics. By pouring the ram’s blood into the ground where he was allegedly buried (I'm pretty sure it wasn’t his real grave) they were supposedly infusing the spirit of the dead Pelops with life so that he could enjoy the beginning of the ceremony and give it his blessing.


Silver Victoria_Grossack wrote: "Silver wrote: "I enjoyed the way in which the incident in which the house of Amphion was struck down could be seen as somewhat open to interpretation."

The deaths in the house of Amphion – usual..."


Interesting, though I am familiar with the myth of Oedipus I did not know that much about the back story, and the history of his family prior to his birth.

I do like the way in which the book presents this incident in a way that seems a balance between myth and history. Suggesting to the reader both a mythological explanation, and leaving reasonable doubt for a more realistic explanation. Which does homage to what the Greeks believed while telling their history.

A while back there was this interesting show on the History Channel, I cannot remember what it was called now, but it explored various different myths and revealed the true events of actual people who may have inspired the myths, and how the roots of the myth grounded in truth.


message 39: by Victoria_Grossack (last edited Apr 06, 2012 02:31AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments Silver wrote: "Interesting, though I am familiar with the myth of Oedipus I did not know that much about the back story, and the history of his family prior to his birth."

What is paradoxical is that some people enjoy Jocasta: The Mother-Wife of Oedipus because they know what is going to happen, and they're full of anticipation, while the same people also enjoy the Niobe trilogy because they don't know what is going to happen.

Different types of enjoyment, I guess.


ladywallingford | 83 comments I'm not quite finished with Jocasta yet but I have to say that I loved from the beginning how realistically the myth is brought to life. Furthermore, I also really enjoyed seeing the genealogical connections between the House of Thebes to famous ancestors/other kingdoms in the surrounding area. It's not really something I thought about while reading Greek mythology as a child and even in college when I studied the classics (which is odd for me).

I could go on but I think most of what stuck out for me has already been reasonably explained or hashed out by others. I'm a little late to the game.


message 41: by Jackie, That's Her Constableness to you! (last edited Apr 06, 2012 07:19PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jackie (TheNightOwl) | 3108 comments I just finished this one a few hours ago. I still have to read through this thread and the info you have on the blog, but here is my initial impression...

I was surprised I liked it as much as I did. Don't take that the wrong way, but the Oedipus myth has always been my least favorite and I really cringe when it comes to incestuous relationships. So needless to say, I was hesitant to pick this one up. However, the prologue really peaked my interest. Introducing her the way you and Alice did made me interested to know who Jocasta was and how did the situation all came to be. I ended up liking Jocasta, even though I didn't agree with her actions I did understand why she tried covering up her secrets, especially when her time period and position were factored in.

I also really liked some of the side characters. Melanthe and the Tiresias were both very interesting to me. I liked how the Gods and myths were incorporated so easily into daily life. It made me think of Latin American magic realism. I also liked Niobe even from the little bit we got from her here. I plan on reading the others to learn more about her. She seems like a very interesting character!

One question though- (view spoiler)


message 42: by Becky, Moddess (new) - rated it 3 stars

Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) | 3748 comments I'm starting this one tonight. :)


message 43: by Victoria_Grossack (last edited Apr 07, 2012 01:32AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments To answer Jackie's question: (view spoiler)


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments ladywallingford wrote: "I'm not quite finished with Jocasta yet but I have to say that I loved from the beginning how realistically the myth is brought to life. Furthermore, I also really enjoyed seeing the genealogical connections between the House of Thebes to famous ancestors/other kingdoms in the surrounding area. It's not really something I thought about while reading Greek mythology as a child and even in college when I studied the classics (which is odd for me)."

The family trees and the connections between families are very challenging to map out - many of the myths are contradictory. It's also true that myths are frequently treated as independent and separate, instead of as part of a connected world.

You're not late at all to the discussion!


Stephanie I really enjoyed reading Jocasta! Here is my review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 46: by Becky, Moddess (new) - rated it 3 stars

Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) | 3748 comments I'm about 20% into this right now, and hope to get a big chunk read today (if not finish), but I have to say that so far, I'm right in the middle of the road.

On the one hand, I'm interested in the story, and not being an Oedipus scholar (my understatement of the week - I know next to nothing about the Oedipus myth except the barest essentials), I'm interested to see where this goes. On the other hand, however, I'm finding the story a little hard to get into for a couple reasons, things that keep taking me out of the story.

(view spoiler)

I don't really intend to nitpick. Like I said, these little things keep pulling me out of the story. Otherwise I'm curious and interested to see where it will go.


Silver Becky wrote: "I'm about 20% into this right now, and hope to get a big chunk read today (if not finish), but I have to say that so far, I'm right in the middle of the road.

On the one hand, I'm interested in t..."


I am glad to see that someone else felt the same way about Jocosta as I did. At points she feels too modern in her behavior, thoughts, ideas, and at other points she comes across as being extremely naive. I had trouble with the whole scene with Laius myself. In the first place, the way she acts shocked at finding out she is to be married to him, and protested about the idea of her father bartering with her, when that was extremely common and only to be expected at that period of time and should not have been shocking to her. As well when she becomes shocked at the thought that Laius already had sons with another woman, again it was rather common for men to either have more than one wife, or at least slaves with whom the slept with. Monogamy was not a common practice at this period of time. Also I struggled with her instantaneous love for him.

And I also wondered by the terminology of My Lord and My Lady, which I was uncertain would have been used at this era of time.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments To Becky

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Victoria_Grossack Grossack (VictoriaGrossack) | 593 comments Jocasta's feelings:

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message 50: by Becky, Moddess (new) - rated it 3 stars

Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) | 3748 comments I can understand that decision, but to me, the more modern terms are distracting, and rather than helping immerse me in the world, they kick me right out of it. I'd personally rather "wanix" and "spartoi" be used if those are appropriate. As long as I'm given an explanation for an unfamiliar word, either outright or by context, then I'll acclimate to their use.

Every reader is different. But, that's my personal opinion.

Regarding the age of marriage, OK, perhaps even then 14 would have been on the young side. But I still feel like her behavior was out of place. Whether a girl's marriage was arranged at 14 or 16 or 25, it was still expected that she would marry, and according to the prophecy become queen of Thebes.


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