“….an enchanting, dramatic novel that brings to life iconic mythic characters, including a woman whose voice had long been silenced.”
Recent U.S. and world events have forced many of us to confront the sad reality that we must place in the forefront the daily job of examining, discussing and ripping to shreds the old misogynist attitudes and institutional blocks against women. A fine way to engage in that process is by reading a book.
Emily Hauser is a classicist who turns Greek mythology into imaginative, engaging novels. Her latest, For the Winner, expands the myths about Atalanta and Jason and the Argonauts to build an enchanting, dramatic novel that brings to life iconic mythic characters, including a woman whose voice had long been silenced.
Although this is a grand adventure story with twists and turns, fights and romances, it is also at its core a weighing of the difference between a woman’s view of governance and a man’s. A dramatic battle between these two visions arises partly from the particular details of one well-developed female character, Atalanta, and her male opponent, Jason, but the battle also raises questions of the innate differences between male and female understandings of leadership. Do they exist and are there men and women who transcend them? These are all good things to float in your mind while flipping pages quickly in an entertaining tale.
I’ll quote from Hauser’s author’s note: “I looked instead to the story of a woman who has tended, in spite of her brilliance, her courage and her determination, to be ignored. I decided to tell the story of Atalanta, to focus on the struggles of a woman and a warrior trying to make her way in the world, to prove herself the equal of a man.”
Not a bad action plan for a novelist who knows her Greek mythology and ancient world with great depth, accuracy and warmth.