Review: The Silence of the Girls

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.

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Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes

Title: My Heart and Other Black Holes
Author: Jasmine Warga
Genre: Young adult, drama
My Rating: ★★★★
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Poems may get written because of it, songs may pull out their lyrics from it, and stories may be born from its dark womb, but there is irrefutably nothing beautiful about depression. It is not your garden-variety sadness; it is an ugly monster seeking shelter inside you, consuming all the happiness it can find there and eating up a bit more of you until you feel like an empty husk. It attaches itself to you like an additional vital organ, one that pumps away hollowness into your veins. It makes each day too hard to meet, and makes even the thought of smiling feel like a demanding chore. Ultimately, it can urge you to believe that dying—suicide—is a better alternative than living.

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