Electra

Electra✹ [BOOKS] ✭ Electra By Henry Treece ❃ – Oaklandjobs.co.uk Treece s Electra revealsthan the private lives of Electra and Agamemnon, of Clytemnestra and Orestes Written from Electra s point of view, it shows in action the many forces which contributed at last Treece s Electra revealsthan the private lives of Electra and Agamemnon, of Clytemnestra and Orestes Written from Electra s point of view, it shows in action the many forces which contributed at last to the downfall of Mycenae s brilliant culture, and the coming of the Dorian Dark Age which was to last for five hundred years and. WARNING Spoilery spoilers that spoil spoileringly. I like it when I approach a book with the suspicions a scalded cat approaches a pond, only to discover the water was good and it doesn t want to get out This book worked like that, because of the reviews that spoilt it for me that there d be huge deviations from the canonical story of Electra the House of Atreus as per Aeschylus Sophocles Euripides, I started reading it with hackles already raised I mean, reviews said that Electra wo WARNING Spoilery spoilers that spoil spoileringly. I like it when I approach a book with the suspicions a scalded cat approaches a pond, only to discover the water was good and it doesn t want to get out This book worked like that, because of the reviews that spoilt it for me that there d be huge deviations from the canonical story of Electra the House of Atreus as per Aeschylus Sophocles Euripides, I started reading it with hackles already raised I mean, reviews said that Electra would be involved in a significant way in the murder of Agamemnon Beg yer pardonHow could it possibly work in any novel worth the pence paid for it, I couldn t fathom The whole point of Electra s role, no, her existence in Greek mythology is her misguided love for her father and the things she does for that love Siggy Freud didn t sayThe Electra Complex is when you hate n loathe your daddy and want to murder himHow was I going to expect anything less than a literary version of a trainwreck, then Yet Henry Treece made it work, and for that he deserves all the kudos and posthumous toasts to his memory Yes, he does in effect deviate hugely from the Greek canon Too much, in reality To give only a few hints without spoiling it much, the Princess Electra in this novel is a moody brat and so poorly mannered for a royal and even for a plebs that she ll tempt you to want to mentally rattle her teeth Her mother Queen Clytemnestra is at the same timerelatable and just as sinister as we ve known her in the old plays The former s lover, Aegisthus, is also given a sympathetic backstory and sensible motivations whilst still giving off repellent vibes Her sister Chrysothemis odd siding with and supporting of her mother and her murderous lover is explained away with certain reasons that make herpitiable as well asjustifiable than what the classical playwrights told us about her Her brother Orestes isn t all that different from the canon, at least to me, and it s this detail that becomes one of the big clues as to what s really happening And AgamemnonAh, Agamemnon He s still larger than life, as he was meant to be, villainy nothwithstanding He s shown as this godlike giant through the adoring eyes of little Electra, and flawed and punchable through the jaded eyes of Clytemnestra The reasons he has for going to war with Troy would send dear Homer into apoplectic rage fits, because they don t contain a single paltry atom of heroic or honourable rationale No, it s plain old stinky Realpolitik, immediate needs And Helen s participation in this scheme, you ll have to read for yourself to assess, but this I will tell you the harlot insults thrown at her have a reason to exist, and not just because of Paris Similarly, the sacrifice of Iphigenia has a cause that ll disgust many a reader regardless of their familiarity with the legend, and is the reason Electra has for taking the rosy tinted blinders off her eyes.It was at that point that I was ready to pick up my metaphorical pitchfork and started sharpening the edges to trash this particular choice of plot, and thenI began to pay attention to the small hints here and there that clued an attentive reader as to the reality of the events not being as Electra was leading us to believe It s a first person POV, after all, and by definition unreliable But not only that, it was also things like that Electra would from time to time stop for an aside to the Hittite doctor she s telling her story to, to muse that she s so old she doesn t know any if what she s telling really happened There s also the story of the fishes as a fable for reality vs perception that Clytemnestra tells her as a child And so on So when the epilogue rolls in, and we read the assessment of the Hittite doctor, enumerating the odd things round the house that contradict the old woman s tale, it finally dawns on you that it doesn t really matter if Treece went against the canon, because he s using the unreliable narrator technique on top of clues that the old woman is mad.So, is it or isn t it Electra here Is the story real or false You have to draw conclusions on your own, and they may be different to the physician s conclusions As for me, I m thinking it s one of two possibilities either it s not really Electra but another woman of the same name that grew up knowing her legend and lost her mind in senility or due to trauma, believing herself the one true Princess Electra as in an Anna Anderson Grand Duchess Anastasia scenario or she s really the true Electra that lost her mind in her old age due to trauma and tragedy, or old age, and is rewriting her true story concerning her parents out of guilt and mental torment due to familial tragedy as in an PTSD induced insanity Orestes the Furies scenario.Do read this, and see what you ll think Wildly original and imaginative retelling of the Greek myth of Electra and the Fall of the House of Atreus I feel this version compares favorably with the ancient Greek dramas on this subject and with the Strauss von Hofmannsthal opera, Elektra The author has taken the bare bones of the myth and pressed his own stamp upon it He has concentrated on Agamemnon s family left behind in Mycenae I appreciated the author s omitting the details of the Trojan War I feel it s already covered enough in Wildly original and imaginative retelling of the Greek myth of Electra and the Fall of the House of Atreus I feel this version compares favorably with the ancient Greek dramas on this subject and with the Strauss von Hofmannsthal opera, Elektra The author has taken the bare bones of the myth and pressed his own stamp upon it He has concentrated on Agamemnon s family left behind in Mycenae I appreciated the author s omitting the details of the Trojan War I feel it s already covered enough in literature and film Electra as an old woman tells her personal life s story to a Hittite physician The life of the family and their fates are recounted through the passage of years Aegisthus insinuation of himself into the royal family and into a position of power, the devotion of Electra s eunuch slave to her, as well as the stories of Orestes, Hermione Electra s cousin and sister Chrysothemis are told Each of the characters is a vivid personality Electra s hero worship of Agamemnon turns quickly to burning hatred after he has her sister, Iphigenia, sacrificed to gain fair winds to Troy Electra s premonition of this in a fever dream is especially chilling When Agamemnon returns from Troy, his wife Clytemnestra, Electra, and Aegisthus are involved in his brutal murder Electra tells of the madness of her brother Orestes, her marriage to and love of her husband Pylades, Orestes good friend The House of Atreus is doomed Mycenae suffers a Dark Age after the coming of the Dorians After all the narrative, we are left to ponder Is it really that of Electra or just the ravings of a mad old woman Electra has the feel of an epic, remarkably, even though it is a fairly short book It tells such an epic story, and populates it with characters of vivid personality and fallibility, shown through judiciously selected scenes of gripping drama Treece wisely doesn t bother re telling the Iliad, a tale that has been retold over and over in modern historical fiction so frequently that I ve almost got Troy fatigue from the slew of Troy based novels I ve been reading recently Treece instead focuses Electra has the feel of an epic, remarkably, even though it is a fairly short book It tells such an epic story, and populates it with characters of vivid personality and fallibility, shown through judiciously selected scenes of gripping drama Treece wisely doesn t bother re telling the Iliad, a tale that has been retold over and over in modern historical fiction so frequently that I ve almost got Troy fatigue from the slew of Troy based novels I ve been reading recently Treece instead focuses on telling the story of the treacherous blood feud of the Mycenaean royal family, through the eyes of those left behind namely, Princess Electra, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra Rather than relating every detail of Electra s life, Treece keeps the drama flowing and the tedium non existent by giving us only selected scenes that are relevant and have the greatest impact on Electra s life He shows rather than tells, even though the entire tale is narrated by Electra in first person as an old woman looking back on her life Even though the tale is reasonably well known to Greek myth fans, Treece still keeps the suspense and surprise factor high by exploiting the gaps in the original myth I find it hard to find anything to criticise, other than I wish it were longer.This book was, I guess, considered risqu for the time it was written, since it contains homosexual relationships but for modern readers it s tame whilst the homosexual relationship is implied, it s all off screen and Treece avoids being explicit.I adore this book I haven t been able to get it out of my head since I read it as a child It gripped me then, and it gripped me again now as an adult Told in first person past tense from the perspective of Electra herself as an old woman, the legendary princess of Mycenae tells the story of her life I m usually not a big fan of first person in historical fiction, but it is done so well here Electra as an old woman barely intrudes on the narrative at all, and has a wonderful personality of worldliness, weariness, and wisdom, combined with just enough ambiguity that the reader is clearly meant to question whether or not she s telling the truth about her recollections, or even whether she is Electra at all or just some mad old woman Treece leaves the question entirely open for us as readers to decide, and I love that, I love the way the story gets me to think about it and come to my own conclusions The soaring heart of the narrative is, of course, Electra s earlier life, and it s absolutely vividly brought to life Such is Treece s skill that he evokes the senses in his descriptions and can create sensations of unsettledness, transcendancy, surreality, andin me as a reader, and switch smoothly from one sensation to another with seamlessness I feel completely transported into the scenes he writes.The characters are incredibly human deftly and subtly rendered, hugely flawed, and forgivable in their flawed yet human decisions These characters have agency, but so does everyone else in this world, and this is an epic story where characters rise up over some and are beaten down by others Treece s writing style is practised, his knowledge of the language broad, and he uses subtle and clever references to create a sense of individuality and culture and he avoids repetition and hammering over the head He also doesn t shy away from the hard ending I ve noticed a number of books recently, across genres, ducking out of characters facing hard decisions or any conclusion that isn t a happy one, and I just don t care for those books They don t evoke my emotions, they don t induce any empathy for the characters, and they quickly fade from my memory What I want are books like Electra, and A Song of Ice and Fire, and Sunne in Splendour, and Lords of the Two Lands Bad things happen to good people in real life, people are complex and ambiguous in real life, the unexpected happens in real life Books that recreate the complexity and ambiguity of reality feelimmersive and make me careI don t like books that duck out of this, portray people as either good or bad, are predictable, or oversimplify things they just bring the story down Electra may be an old book but it succeeds magnificently, and I m glad I ve discovered that this author wrote other books set in ancient Greek myths I look forwards to reading them.I m just going to leave you with some of my favourite quoteschokengtitiktitikchokeng 7 But doctor, even you, a Hittite, saw what our Mycenaean shields were like Oh, don t smile, I may be an old woman, but I known what I am talking about, and if you will be patient, you will understand, too You do not see the wholeness of things, the Virtue, the ar teYou observe one fact, the single symptom, like the Hittite doctor you are, but your eyes are blind to the Ananke , the whole Order of things which even the gods cannot infringe The shield is formed on a frame, and that frame is the will of man But after the sun and rain have been on it a week, its shape has changed beyond man s guiding and that is Anankethough I began upon a firm frame, the hide of my experience has tautened and twisted until now I am as Anankewill me to be I am not what I wished, or others wished for me I am what it was ordained for me to become ever the seed passed from my father to my mother I am the cow s hide, tormented to the only shape it can be Now do you see Do you see that there may be no anger, no regret, no remorsep 96 My anger lasted me until we had stabled the horses and I had strode into the feast chamber Then it drained from me like water from a broken cask My mother was lolling at the board, her tilted cup spilling wine down her breast, her hair as matted as a dog s She was holding the hand of Aegisthus, who sat in royal robes, in my father s chair, chuckling and fat I must have stood in the doorway aghast, for Aegisthus suddenly shouted out in his hoarse voice, Come, girl, is this the way to greet your new father Is this the famous courtesy of Mycenae I thought we might expect better than this, daughter I said, You are not my father You are not even fit to stand in his shadow If he were here, Agamemnon would beat you into the yard with the other dogs His face darkened and he struck on the board with the ivory haft of his meat knife My mother still smiled with purple lipped stuporp 168 My heart thumped so wildly, I tore away my black bandage and saw that the youth in the rushes was Orestes, Orestes with his golden hair flying wild And already he had the fringe of beard growing thick at his chin Orestes rose and put his arm about Pylades waist, and they stood above me, together, in the sunlight that shone through the new green leaves in that grove Together, they looked so comely, I could have eaten them No, doctor, I did not mean to say that, it slipped out Forget those words I meant that I could have loved them to madness I thought that they were second only to dear Hermione in her light armour and her play helmet, lying among the crushed lavender in the breathless heat of the evening. 10 out of 10 The story of Electra and the unhappy House of Atreus is one of my favorites in all of Greek drama, and I wasn t sure if it could be portrayed so vividly outside of Richard Strauss opera and the original Greek plays But Treece took the standard storytelling technique of an old woman recounting her life to a passive listener here, a doctor and packed 280 pages full of highly emotional and descriptive stuff.It s been awhile since I ve read Sophocles and Euripides, so I m not sure where Treece m The story of Electra and the unhappy House of Atreus is one of my favorites in all of Greek drama, and I wasn t sure if it could be portrayed so vividly outside of Richard Strauss opera and the original Greek plays But Treece took the standard storytelling technique of an old woman recounting her life to a passive listener here, a doctor and packed 280 pages full of highly emotional and descriptive stuff.It s been awhile since I ve read Sophocles and Euripides, so I m not sure where Treece might have deviated from fact, but that matters little anyway The Trojan War and all of its players have been the subject of fanfiction for millenia, and I like seeing what authors come up with and if they can make it work Treece s novel works from beginning to end, something I can t say for somerecent authors attempts Despite its rather brief length, the story was surprisingly in depth, and I felt like I was in Bronze Age Greece in all of its glorious, war mongering decline.Highlights Electra s changing attitude towards her father Agamemnon, from lustful worship to undying hatred Iphigenia s sacrifice to sincere grief at the broken man he s become after ten years of war The issue of gods, if they are man made, the nature of worship, the fear that belief or disbelief inspires in people during both good times and bad Electra s relationship with Hermione Talk about kissing cousins The characterization of Aegisthus He was strong and weak and a figure of fear and of fun And it all worked Ditto the characterization of Clytemnestra She is not a monster, but a very unhappy and unlucky woman who isn t afraid to take drastic measures The final scene with the doctor and his slave, after Electra has told her tale We get a little speech about the effect of bards on something called The Truth, and it wraps up the book oh so nicely.This one shouldn t be out of print If you ve ever watched some of the classic Greek plays, particularly those surrounding the Trojan War, some of it may have been slightly confusing The dramatists assumed that most of the viewers knew the names of the characters and had a rough idea of the events The plays were to put those events in perspective or serve as a warning for future generations The Amber Princess is a retelling of those events in novel form It may not clarify all the details for you and you may not even agree with If you ve ever watched some of the classic Greek plays, particularly those surrounding the Trojan War, some of it may have been slightly confusing The dramatists assumed that most of the viewers knew the names of the characters and had a rough idea of the events The plays were to put those events in perspective or serve as a warning for future generations The Amber Princess is a retelling of those events in novel form It may not clarify all the details for you and you may not even agree with Henry Treece s interpretations of said events, but this is a gritty treatment of the story from the perspective of Electra, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, brother of Orestes, and niece of, yes, Helen of Troy the face that launched a thousand ships The Amber Princess was written in 1963 well before orchestrated incidents in the Gulf of Tonkin rationalized the subsequent military action, but I m surprised this didn t become a cult classic in the later 60s and early 70s The thoughts on war would have said so much to the generation of the Vietnam Conflict.From Electra s perspective, the whole war rationale was a propaganda coup Her Uncle Menelaus had conspired with Agamemnon and even set it up for Helen to be able to sneak out of Mycenae Also, from Electra s perspective Menelaus and Helen are reunited to reign over Egypt Electra s perspective is also a very pagan perspective She pays attention to many gods and, at one point, becomes the goddess Don t get me wrong There is no apotheosis to divinity, just an assumption of the role.The novel doesn t follow Sophocles version of Electra s story Orestes and Pylades come to her in Mycenae in the play while, through a series of traumatic events, they find her in a distant land and they have lives outside of Mycenae before heading for the conclusion In the play Orestes pretends to be carrying an urn with his own ashes in the novel, Orestes discovers Electra in a compromising position In the play, Electra is sort of a female Hamlet wanting revenge on her mother for killing Agamemnon in the baths In the novel, Agamemnon s death is a bitcomplicated and ritualistic than that In the play, Clytemnestra is clearly villainous in the novel, she is cold at times and warm at times such that it is difficult to see her nature clearly.Personally, I was surprised to such matter of fact but not graphic in today s sense mentions of lesbianism, incestuous desires well, duh Think of what Freud did with Electra , orgies, and prostitution both sacred and professional I didn t find any of it titillating, but I wasn t really expecting it except in relationship to Agamemnon But Treece doesn t follow Sophocles or Euripides approaches to the story He has his own take and it is interesting But, in all fairness, I m not sure anyone would enjoy this novel without some background in the Greek Classics from which Treece took his inspiration That is what makes this an average book in my opinion Of course, that s just my opinion More lesbianism and ritual prostitution than delicate stomachs are likely to accommodate , promises the review quote blazoned across the front cover but this is a 1963 edition, and to sensibilities forged after the beginning of sexual intercourse it s a book you d call haunting, strange, sensual, but hardly filthy Treece gives Electra s own account of the Atreides bloody end, taking Robert Graves lead in unearthing older myths within the classical versions we know He then matches that wit More lesbianism and ritual prostitution than delicate stomachs are likely to accommodate , promises the review quote blazoned across the front cover but this is a 1963 edition, and to sensibilities forged after the beginning of sexual intercourse it s a book you d call haunting, strange, sensual, but hardly filthy Treece gives Electra s own account of the Atreides bloody end, taking Robert Graves lead in unearthing older myths within the classical versions we know He then matches that with what historians have pieced together of an age that s only barely historical, and asks what might have been going on behind closed doors to provide the grit around which those pearls of legend coalesced Electra and her kin are human here, but crucially, that doesn t mean anything so banal as them being just like us even the precursors of the classical Greeks are alien and sordid to this aristocratic, alien breed The result is heady, often heartbreaking though clearly a product of its time, it offers too that sense of a true window on a strangely other past which only the best historical fiction can conjure An old woman tells her story to a Hittite doctor in Dorian Dark Age Greece She claims to be Electra, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, the last great Achaean rulers of Mycene Here at the close of the Greek Bronze Age are portraits of Helen and Paris, Odysseus and Achilles, Iphigeneia and Orestes, Electra and Pylades all as they might have been in reality Treece writes an imaginative, darkly violent tale, set convincingly in a richly described Greece, culminating with the overthrow of An old woman tells her story to a Hittite doctor in Dorian Dark Age Greece She claims to be Electra, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, the last great Achaean rulers of Mycene Here at the close of the Greek Bronze Age are portraits of Helen and Paris, Odysseus and Achilles, Iphigeneia and Orestes, Electra and Pylades all as they might have been in reality Treece writes an imaginative, darkly violent tale, set convincingly in a richly described Greece, culminating with the overthrow of Mycenaean civilisation by the brutal, illiterate, but pragmatic Dorians After a recent foray into nonfiction about the late Bronze Age and the fall of civilizations, I went back to this novel, which I read many, many years ago and which I still remembered in pieces It s well written apparently Treece was a bit of a poet as well as a novelist but I think his shtick was to turn myth into history he does this with Oedipus and Jason as well and basically the four decades since this was written have contained archaelogical advances that pretty much rendered his After a recent foray into nonfiction about the late Bronze Age and the fall of civilizations, I went back to this novel, which I read many, many years ago and which I still remembered in pieces It s well written apparently Treece was a bit of a poet as well as a novelist but I think his shtick was to turn myth into history he does this with Oedipus and Jason as well and basically the four decades since this was written have contained archaelogical advances that pretty much rendered his historicization totally invalid There was no nomadic Dorian invasion , no 500 year return to primitivism, in Ancient Greece the palaces at Mycenae and Pylos and Tiryns were destroyed, yes, but a lot of things continued on as before or evolved gradually over decades rather than disappearing as the result of some kind of devastating barbarian invasion.Anyway, with that said, Electra herself is still as crazy as remembered and the creepy images of an aging Clytemnestra remain with me as vividly as they did all those years ago So 3 stars Grimly compelling the story of Electra, told by herself She recalls the horror of the sacrifice of her sister, Iphigenia, her mother, Clytemnestra s revenge upon Agamemnon for allowing the killing of his own child, the madness of her brother, Orestes the fall of Mycenae, and the coming of the Dorians She recalls the gentle eunuch slave who loved her, and her love of the man she marries A princess becomes a queen but ends in obscurity, betrayed by her surviving sister, branded as a subject a Grimly compelling the story of Electra, told by herself She recalls the horror of the sacrifice of her sister, Iphigenia, her mother, Clytemnestra s revenge upon Agamemnon for allowing the killing of his own child, the madness of her brother, Orestes the fall of Mycenae, and the coming of the Dorians She recalls the gentle eunuch slave who loved her, and her love of the man she marries A princess becomes a queen but ends in obscurity, betrayed by her surviving sister, branded as a subject and a thrall by Mycenae s conquerors

Mass Market Paperback  ¿ Electra Kindle ¼
    Mass Market Paperback ¿ Electra Kindle ¼ and the coming of the Dorian Dark Age which was to last for five hundred years and. WARNING Spoilery spoilers that spoil spoileringly. I like it when I approach a book with the suspicions a scalded cat approaches a pond, only to discover the water was good and it doesn t want to get out This book worked like that, because of the reviews that spoilt it for me that there d be huge deviations from the canonical story of Electra the House of Atreus as per Aeschylus Sophocles Euripides, I started reading it with hackles already raised I mean, reviews said that Electra wo WARNING Spoilery spoilers that spoil spoileringly. I like it when I approach a book with the suspicions a scalded cat approaches a pond, only to discover the water was good and it doesn t want to get out This book worked like that, because of the reviews that spoilt it for me that there d be huge deviations from the canonical story of Electra the House of Atreus as per Aeschylus Sophocles Euripides, I started reading it with hackles already raised I mean, reviews said that Electra would be involved in a significant way in the murder of Agamemnon Beg yer pardonHow could it possibly work in any novel worth the pence paid for it, I couldn t fathom The whole point of Electra s role, no, her existence in Greek mythology is her misguided love for her father and the things she does for that love Siggy Freud didn t sayThe Electra Complex is when you hate n loathe your daddy and want to murder himHow was I going to expect anything less than a literary version of a trainwreck, then Yet Henry Treece made it work, and for that he deserves all the kudos and posthumous toasts to his memory Yes, he does in effect deviate hugely from the Greek canon Too much, in reality To give only a few hints without spoiling it much, the Princess Electra in this novel is a moody brat and so poorly mannered for a royal and even for a plebs that she ll tempt you to want to mentally rattle her teeth Her mother Queen Clytemnestra is at the same timerelatable and just as sinister as we ve known her in the old plays The former s lover, Aegisthus, is also given a sympathetic backstory and sensible motivations whilst still giving off repellent vibes Her sister Chrysothemis odd siding with and supporting of her mother and her murderous lover is explained away with certain reasons that make herpitiable as well asjustifiable than what the classical playwrights told us about her Her brother Orestes isn t all that different from the canon, at least to me, and it s this detail that becomes one of the big clues as to what s really happening And AgamemnonAh, Agamemnon He s still larger than life, as he was meant to be, villainy nothwithstanding He s shown as this godlike giant through the adoring eyes of little Electra, and flawed and punchable through the jaded eyes of Clytemnestra The reasons he has for going to war with Troy would send dear Homer into apoplectic rage fits, because they don t contain a single paltry atom of heroic or honourable rationale No, it s plain old stinky Realpolitik, immediate needs And Helen s participation in this scheme, you ll have to read for yourself to assess, but this I will tell you the harlot insults thrown at her have a reason to exist, and not just because of Paris Similarly, the sacrifice of Iphigenia has a cause that ll disgust many a reader regardless of their familiarity with the legend, and is the reason Electra has for taking the rosy tinted blinders off her eyes.It was at that point that I was ready to pick up my metaphorical pitchfork and started sharpening the edges to trash this particular choice of plot, and thenI began to pay attention to the small hints here and there that clued an attentive reader as to the reality of the events not being as Electra was leading us to believe It s a first person POV, after all, and by definition unreliable But not only that, it was also things like that Electra would from time to time stop for an aside to the Hittite doctor she s telling her story to, to muse that she s so old she doesn t know any if what she s telling really happened There s also the story of the fishes as a fable for reality vs perception that Clytemnestra tells her as a child And so on So when the epilogue rolls in, and we read the assessment of the Hittite doctor, enumerating the odd things round the house that contradict the old woman s tale, it finally dawns on you that it doesn t really matter if Treece went against the canon, because he s using the unreliable narrator technique on top of clues that the old woman is mad.So, is it or isn t it Electra here Is the story real or false You have to draw conclusions on your own, and they may be different to the physician s conclusions As for me, I m thinking it s one of two possibilities either it s not really Electra but another woman of the same name that grew up knowing her legend and lost her mind in senility or due to trauma, believing herself the one true Princess Electra as in an Anna Anderson Grand Duchess Anastasia scenario or she s really the true Electra that lost her mind in her old age due to trauma and tragedy, or old age, and is rewriting her true story concerning her parents out of guilt and mental torment due to familial tragedy as in an PTSD induced insanity Orestes the Furies scenario.Do read this, and see what you ll think Wildly original and imaginative retelling of the Greek myth of Electra and the Fall of the House of Atreus I feel this version compares favorably with the ancient Greek dramas on this subject and with the Strauss von Hofmannsthal opera, Elektra The author has taken the bare bones of the myth and pressed his own stamp upon it He has concentrated on Agamemnon s family left behind in Mycenae I appreciated the author s omitting the details of the Trojan War I feel it s already covered enough in Wildly original and imaginative retelling of the Greek myth of Electra and the Fall of the House of Atreus I feel this version compares favorably with the ancient Greek dramas on this subject and with the Strauss von Hofmannsthal opera, Elektra The author has taken the bare bones of the myth and pressed his own stamp upon it He has concentrated on Agamemnon s family left behind in Mycenae I appreciated the author s omitting the details of the Trojan War I feel it s already covered enough in literature and film Electra as an old woman tells her personal life s story to a Hittite physician The life of the family and their fates are recounted through the passage of years Aegisthus insinuation of himself into the royal family and into a position of power, the devotion of Electra s eunuch slave to her, as well as the stories of Orestes, Hermione Electra s cousin and sister Chrysothemis are told Each of the characters is a vivid personality Electra s hero worship of Agamemnon turns quickly to burning hatred after he has her sister, Iphigenia, sacrificed to gain fair winds to Troy Electra s premonition of this in a fever dream is especially chilling When Agamemnon returns from Troy, his wife Clytemnestra, Electra, and Aegisthus are involved in his brutal murder Electra tells of the madness of her brother Orestes, her marriage to and love of her husband Pylades, Orestes good friend The House of Atreus is doomed Mycenae suffers a Dark Age after the coming of the Dorians After all the narrative, we are left to ponder Is it really that of Electra or just the ravings of a mad old woman Electra has the feel of an epic, remarkably, even though it is a fairly short book It tells such an epic story, and populates it with characters of vivid personality and fallibility, shown through judiciously selected scenes of gripping drama Treece wisely doesn t bother re telling the Iliad, a tale that has been retold over and over in modern historical fiction so frequently that I ve almost got Troy fatigue from the slew of Troy based novels I ve been reading recently Treece instead focuses Electra has the feel of an epic, remarkably, even though it is a fairly short book It tells such an epic story, and populates it with characters of vivid personality and fallibility, shown through judiciously selected scenes of gripping drama Treece wisely doesn t bother re telling the Iliad, a tale that has been retold over and over in modern historical fiction so frequently that I ve almost got Troy fatigue from the slew of Troy based novels I ve been reading recently Treece instead focuses on telling the story of the treacherous blood feud of the Mycenaean royal family, through the eyes of those left behind namely, Princess Electra, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra Rather than relating every detail of Electra s life, Treece keeps the drama flowing and the tedium non existent by giving us only selected scenes that are relevant and have the greatest impact on Electra s life He shows rather than tells, even though the entire tale is narrated by Electra in first person as an old woman looking back on her life Even though the tale is reasonably well known to Greek myth fans, Treece still keeps the suspense and surprise factor high by exploiting the gaps in the original myth I find it hard to find anything to criticise, other than I wish it were longer.This book was, I guess, considered risqu for the time it was written, since it contains homosexual relationships but for modern readers it s tame whilst the homosexual relationship is implied, it s all off screen and Treece avoids being explicit.I adore this book I haven t been able to get it out of my head since I read it as a child It gripped me then, and it gripped me again now as an adult Told in first person past tense from the perspective of Electra herself as an old woman, the legendary princess of Mycenae tells the story of her life I m usually not a big fan of first person in historical fiction, but it is done so well here Electra as an old woman barely intrudes on the narrative at all, and has a wonderful personality of worldliness, weariness, and wisdom, combined with just enough ambiguity that the reader is clearly meant to question whether or not she s telling the truth about her recollections, or even whether she is Electra at all or just some mad old woman Treece leaves the question entirely open for us as readers to decide, and I love that, I love the way the story gets me to think about it and come to my own conclusions The soaring heart of the narrative is, of course, Electra s earlier life, and it s absolutely vividly brought to life Such is Treece s skill that he evokes the senses in his descriptions and can create sensations of unsettledness, transcendancy, surreality, andin me as a reader, and switch smoothly from one sensation to another with seamlessness I feel completely transported into the scenes he writes.The characters are incredibly human deftly and subtly rendered, hugely flawed, and forgivable in their flawed yet human decisions These characters have agency, but so does everyone else in this world, and this is an epic story where characters rise up over some and are beaten down by others Treece s writing style is practised, his knowledge of the language broad, and he uses subtle and clever references to create a sense of individuality and culture and he avoids repetition and hammering over the head He also doesn t shy away from the hard ending I ve noticed a number of books recently, across genres, ducking out of characters facing hard decisions or any conclusion that isn t a happy one, and I just don t care for those books They don t evoke my emotions, they don t induce any empathy for the characters, and they quickly fade from my memory What I want are books like Electra, and A Song of Ice and Fire, and Sunne in Splendour, and Lords of the Two Lands Bad things happen to good people in real life, people are complex and ambiguous in real life, the unexpected happens in real life Books that recreate the complexity and ambiguity of reality feelimmersive and make me careI don t like books that duck out of this, portray people as either good or bad, are predictable, or oversimplify things they just bring the story down Electra may be an old book but it succeeds magnificently, and I m glad I ve discovered that this author wrote other books set in ancient Greek myths I look forwards to reading them.I m just going to leave you with some of my favourite quoteschokengtitiktitikchokeng 7 But doctor, even you, a Hittite, saw what our Mycenaean shields were like Oh, don t smile, I may be an old woman, but I known what I am talking about, and if you will be patient, you will understand, too You do not see the wholeness of things, the Virtue, the ar teYou observe one fact, the single symptom, like the Hittite doctor you are, but your eyes are blind to the Ananke , the whole Order of things which even the gods cannot infringe The shield is formed on a frame, and that frame is the will of man But after the sun and rain have been on it a week, its shape has changed beyond man s guiding and that is Anankethough I began upon a firm frame, the hide of my experience has tautened and twisted until now I am as Anankewill me to be I am not what I wished, or others wished for me I am what it was ordained for me to become ever the seed passed from my father to my mother I am the cow s hide, tormented to the only shape it can be Now do you see Do you see that there may be no anger, no regret, no remorsep 96 My anger lasted me until we had stabled the horses and I had strode into the feast chamber Then it drained from me like water from a broken cask My mother was lolling at the board, her tilted cup spilling wine down her breast, her hair as matted as a dog s She was holding the hand of Aegisthus, who sat in royal robes, in my father s chair, chuckling and fat I must have stood in the doorway aghast, for Aegisthus suddenly shouted out in his hoarse voice, Come, girl, is this the way to greet your new father Is this the famous courtesy of Mycenae I thought we might expect better than this, daughter I said, You are not my father You are not even fit to stand in his shadow If he were here, Agamemnon would beat you into the yard with the other dogs His face darkened and he struck on the board with the ivory haft of his meat knife My mother still smiled with purple lipped stuporp 168 My heart thumped so wildly, I tore away my black bandage and saw that the youth in the rushes was Orestes, Orestes with his golden hair flying wild And already he had the fringe of beard growing thick at his chin Orestes rose and put his arm about Pylades waist, and they stood above me, together, in the sunlight that shone through the new green leaves in that grove Together, they looked so comely, I could have eaten them No, doctor, I did not mean to say that, it slipped out Forget those words I meant that I could have loved them to madness I thought that they were second only to dear Hermione in her light armour and her play helmet, lying among the crushed lavender in the breathless heat of the evening. 10 out of 10 The story of Electra and the unhappy House of Atreus is one of my favorites in all of Greek drama, and I wasn t sure if it could be portrayed so vividly outside of Richard Strauss opera and the original Greek plays But Treece took the standard storytelling technique of an old woman recounting her life to a passive listener here, a doctor and packed 280 pages full of highly emotional and descriptive stuff.It s been awhile since I ve read Sophocles and Euripides, so I m not sure where Treece m The story of Electra and the unhappy House of Atreus is one of my favorites in all of Greek drama, and I wasn t sure if it could be portrayed so vividly outside of Richard Strauss opera and the original Greek plays But Treece took the standard storytelling technique of an old woman recounting her life to a passive listener here, a doctor and packed 280 pages full of highly emotional and descriptive stuff.It s been awhile since I ve read Sophocles and Euripides, so I m not sure where Treece might have deviated from fact, but that matters little anyway The Trojan War and all of its players have been the subject of fanfiction for millenia, and I like seeing what authors come up with and if they can make it work Treece s novel works from beginning to end, something I can t say for somerecent authors attempts Despite its rather brief length, the story was surprisingly in depth, and I felt like I was in Bronze Age Greece in all of its glorious, war mongering decline.Highlights Electra s changing attitude towards her father Agamemnon, from lustful worship to undying hatred Iphigenia s sacrifice to sincere grief at the broken man he s become after ten years of war The issue of gods, if they are man made, the nature of worship, the fear that belief or disbelief inspires in people during both good times and bad Electra s relationship with Hermione Talk about kissing cousins The characterization of Aegisthus He was strong and weak and a figure of fear and of fun And it all worked Ditto the characterization of Clytemnestra She is not a monster, but a very unhappy and unlucky woman who isn t afraid to take drastic measures The final scene with the doctor and his slave, after Electra has told her tale We get a little speech about the effect of bards on something called The Truth, and it wraps up the book oh so nicely.This one shouldn t be out of print If you ve ever watched some of the classic Greek plays, particularly those surrounding the Trojan War, some of it may have been slightly confusing The dramatists assumed that most of the viewers knew the names of the characters and had a rough idea of the events The plays were to put those events in perspective or serve as a warning for future generations The Amber Princess is a retelling of those events in novel form It may not clarify all the details for you and you may not even agree with If you ve ever watched some of the classic Greek plays, particularly those surrounding the Trojan War, some of it may have been slightly confusing The dramatists assumed that most of the viewers knew the names of the characters and had a rough idea of the events The plays were to put those events in perspective or serve as a warning for future generations The Amber Princess is a retelling of those events in novel form It may not clarify all the details for you and you may not even agree with Henry Treece s interpretations of said events, but this is a gritty treatment of the story from the perspective of Electra, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, brother of Orestes, and niece of, yes, Helen of Troy the face that launched a thousand ships The Amber Princess was written in 1963 well before orchestrated incidents in the Gulf of Tonkin rationalized the subsequent military action, but I m surprised this didn t become a cult classic in the later 60s and early 70s The thoughts on war would have said so much to the generation of the Vietnam Conflict.From Electra s perspective, the whole war rationale was a propaganda coup Her Uncle Menelaus had conspired with Agamemnon and even set it up for Helen to be able to sneak out of Mycenae Also, from Electra s perspective Menelaus and Helen are reunited to reign over Egypt Electra s perspective is also a very pagan perspective She pays attention to many gods and, at one point, becomes the goddess Don t get me wrong There is no apotheosis to divinity, just an assumption of the role.The novel doesn t follow Sophocles version of Electra s story Orestes and Pylades come to her in Mycenae in the play while, through a series of traumatic events, they find her in a distant land and they have lives outside of Mycenae before heading for the conclusion In the play Orestes pretends to be carrying an urn with his own ashes in the novel, Orestes discovers Electra in a compromising position In the play, Electra is sort of a female Hamlet wanting revenge on her mother for killing Agamemnon in the baths In the novel, Agamemnon s death is a bitcomplicated and ritualistic than that In the play, Clytemnestra is clearly villainous in the novel, she is cold at times and warm at times such that it is difficult to see her nature clearly.Personally, I was surprised to such matter of fact but not graphic in today s sense mentions of lesbianism, incestuous desires well, duh Think of what Freud did with Electra , orgies, and prostitution both sacred and professional I didn t find any of it titillating, but I wasn t really expecting it except in relationship to Agamemnon But Treece doesn t follow Sophocles or Euripides approaches to the story He has his own take and it is interesting But, in all fairness, I m not sure anyone would enjoy this novel without some background in the Greek Classics from which Treece took his inspiration That is what makes this an average book in my opinion Of course, that s just my opinion More lesbianism and ritual prostitution than delicate stomachs are likely to accommodate , promises the review quote blazoned across the front cover but this is a 1963 edition, and to sensibilities forged after the beginning of sexual intercourse it s a book you d call haunting, strange, sensual, but hardly filthy Treece gives Electra s own account of the Atreides bloody end, taking Robert Graves lead in unearthing older myths within the classical versions we know He then matches that wit More lesbianism and ritual prostitution than delicate stomachs are likely to accommodate , promises the review quote blazoned across the front cover but this is a 1963 edition, and to sensibilities forged after the beginning of sexual intercourse it s a book you d call haunting, strange, sensual, but hardly filthy Treece gives Electra s own account of the Atreides bloody end, taking Robert Graves lead in unearthing older myths within the classical versions we know He then matches that with what historians have pieced together of an age that s only barely historical, and asks what might have been going on behind closed doors to provide the grit around which those pearls of legend coalesced Electra and her kin are human here, but crucially, that doesn t mean anything so banal as them being just like us even the precursors of the classical Greeks are alien and sordid to this aristocratic, alien breed The result is heady, often heartbreaking though clearly a product of its time, it offers too that sense of a true window on a strangely other past which only the best historical fiction can conjure An old woman tells her story to a Hittite doctor in Dorian Dark Age Greece She claims to be Electra, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, the last great Achaean rulers of Mycene Here at the close of the Greek Bronze Age are portraits of Helen and Paris, Odysseus and Achilles, Iphigeneia and Orestes, Electra and Pylades all as they might have been in reality Treece writes an imaginative, darkly violent tale, set convincingly in a richly described Greece, culminating with the overthrow of An old woman tells her story to a Hittite doctor in Dorian Dark Age Greece She claims to be Electra, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, the last great Achaean rulers of Mycene Here at the close of the Greek Bronze Age are portraits of Helen and Paris, Odysseus and Achilles, Iphigeneia and Orestes, Electra and Pylades all as they might have been in reality Treece writes an imaginative, darkly violent tale, set convincingly in a richly described Greece, culminating with the overthrow of Mycenaean civilisation by the brutal, illiterate, but pragmatic Dorians After a recent foray into nonfiction about the late Bronze Age and the fall of civilizations, I went back to this novel, which I read many, many years ago and which I still remembered in pieces It s well written apparently Treece was a bit of a poet as well as a novelist but I think his shtick was to turn myth into history he does this with Oedipus and Jason as well and basically the four decades since this was written have contained archaelogical advances that pretty much rendered his After a recent foray into nonfiction about the late Bronze Age and the fall of civilizations, I went back to this novel, which I read many, many years ago and which I still remembered in pieces It s well written apparently Treece was a bit of a poet as well as a novelist but I think his shtick was to turn myth into history he does this with Oedipus and Jason as well and basically the four decades since this was written have contained archaelogical advances that pretty much rendered his historicization totally invalid There was no nomadic Dorian invasion , no 500 year return to primitivism, in Ancient Greece the palaces at Mycenae and Pylos and Tiryns were destroyed, yes, but a lot of things continued on as before or evolved gradually over decades rather than disappearing as the result of some kind of devastating barbarian invasion.Anyway, with that said, Electra herself is still as crazy as remembered and the creepy images of an aging Clytemnestra remain with me as vividly as they did all those years ago So 3 stars Grimly compelling the story of Electra, told by herself She recalls the horror of the sacrifice of her sister, Iphigenia, her mother, Clytemnestra s revenge upon Agamemnon for allowing the killing of his own child, the madness of her brother, Orestes the fall of Mycenae, and the coming of the Dorians She recalls the gentle eunuch slave who loved her, and her love of the man she marries A princess becomes a queen but ends in obscurity, betrayed by her surviving sister, branded as a subject a Grimly compelling the story of Electra, told by herself She recalls the horror of the sacrifice of her sister, Iphigenia, her mother, Clytemnestra s revenge upon Agamemnon for allowing the killing of his own child, the madness of her brother, Orestes the fall of Mycenae, and the coming of the Dorians She recalls the gentle eunuch slave who loved her, and her love of the man she marries A princess becomes a queen but ends in obscurity, betrayed by her surviving sister, branded as a subject and a thrall by Mycenae s conquerors "/>
  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 256 pages
  • Electra
  • Henry Treece
  • 07 January 2018
  • 0722185782