Revisionist fiction or retellings still fill bookshelves to the brim these days—old fables pop up with shocking twists, we see fairytales shed their Disney-fied formula to give newer nods to their darker roots, and we even come to know stories of antiquity thrown in with “cyber” sensibilities. With the unremitting creativity of writers today, the possibilities are endless. Readers may clamor for something “original”, of course, but I find that there is charm in revisiting familiar narratives refashioned for the modern eyes.
Personally, I enjoy reading reimaginings of classic myths. I was rapt, for instance, while leafing through the story of the tragic Greek hero Achilles and his bosom companion Patroclus in Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles. I devoured Circe, a feminist take on a classic character from Homer’s The Odyssey by the same author, with equal fascination. There is also Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, spun from the decades-long wait of Penelope for her husband Odysseus from the Trojan War. None of these felt old to me. In fact, they gave substantial and refreshing heft to the original materials. Since then, I’ve been on the prowl for modern narrations of old legends.
That’s why when I heard about Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls—events of The Iliad, but told from the perspective of a significant female character—I just know I have to grab a copy.
Title: Bone Gap Author: Laura Ruby Genre: Magical realism, contemporary, young adult My Rating: ★★★★ Get the book!
“The face that the world sees is never the sum of who we are.” I was thumbing the blurb’s print on the roughish dust jacket of Bone Gap when my fingertips stopped at this line, the last one dangling at the end. It struck a chord with me. Lately I was contemplating about appearances, about the metaphorical masks we put on when we bottle up feelings or when we don’t want the society to judge us for who we really are. With its ambiguous synopsis, would the book be able to quench my curiosity?
Title: Station Eleven Author: Emily St. John Mandel Genre: Science Fiction My Rating: ★★★★★ Get the book!
The last wedge of chocolate you chewed on. The fading flavour of coffee on your tongue. The last note of your favourite song that hung in the air. The creased page of the last book you read. The excited shriek you let out when you caught a virtual creature in a hip game-app. The uneven but beautiful smile of a friend. The soft, persistent kiss of someone you love. The familiar dissonance of the city—the honking of cars, the prattling strangers on the sidewalk during rush hour, the tired sighs of commuters as they wait for the next jam-packed train…