Troy

Adele Geras

{Summary found on Wikipedia.com} :  The plot focuses on several women of Troy, ranging from powerful rich maidens to the servant girls who live in the town. The women all suffer in emotional ways with the decade long war at the center of their pain. Orphan sisters Xanthe and Marpessa live in Priam’s palace as maids and surrogate daughters to Andromache and Helen, respectively.  Andromache is Hector’s wife and mother to Astynax, whom Xanthe cares for like her own child. Marpessa sees the gods but keeps to herself because she knows that people will label her “disturbed” like Hector’s sister Cassandra.

The story picks up steam when Eros hits Xanthe with a silver-blue arrow, while she is working in the Blood room (where the fallen soldiers are taken to be nursed back to health). Xanthe falls in love with Alastor, who then impregnates Marpessa, a triangle brought about because Aphrodite longs for any entertainment other than the war. Polyxena, a friend of the two sisters, is hopelessly in love with Iason, who loves Xanthe.

Geras fills in the holes between each of the subplots with gossip from the servants of Priam’s palace. They serve as the Greek chorus and converse among themselves with how lazy Helen is or how estranged from her family Andromache is. Eventually the story winds down with the inevitable wooden horse and the sacking of Troy.

Geras shines as a storyteller and multi-subplot manager. She carefully scripts each plot to tell the inner feelings of the Trojan woman. The reader knows how the story ends (the rape and pillage of Troy) but what keeps them reading is the interest in the characters’ dreams and ultimate futures.

The book is written with so much emotion that’s its easy to get lost in the feelings of the Trojan women and not notice the hours slipping away. Geras major strength is her masterful character development as several of the characters take a surprising turn at the end of the book. For example, I thought I knew how the Helen character was going to be portrayed but Geras surprised me. The realism of the tale is enchanting and I marveled at the way Geras wove together raw human emotions of lust, friendship, love, hopes, dreams, and utter despair.

Ideally everyone should read this book but advanced YA readers and adults will have a better appreciation of the book. The book is told from the viewpoint of the people of Troy, which is something you don’t see very often. Several parts of the book are violent, especially the details of the sack of Troy. Marpessa contemplates having an abortion when she discovers she is pregnant which is something parents may have to decide if that’s an issue they want their kid reading about.

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One response to “Troy

  1. Diplo took a break from posting about Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories to put together a Major Lazer remix of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ Can’t Hold Us.lazer mazer

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