Bright Air Black, David Vann

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In Bright Air Black, David Vann transports us to 13th century B.C. to give a nuanced and electric portrait of the life of one of ancient mythology’s most fascinating and notorious women, Medea.

In brilliant poetic prose Bright Air Black brings us aboard the ship Argo for its epic return journey across the Black Sea from Persia’s Colchis – where Medea flees her home and father with Jason, the Argonauts, and the Golden Fleece. Vann’s reimagining of this ancient tale offers a thrilling, realist alternative to the long held notions of Medea as monster or sorceress. We witness with dramatic urgency Medea’s humanity, her Bronze Age roots and position in Greek society, her love affair with Jason, and her tragic demise.

Bright Air Black is a powerful, haunting, spellbinding novel; it is a new favorite read of mine thanks to it being enchanting and compelling. It’s beautiful retelling of the Greek Myths of Medea and Jason and the Argonauts captured my heart and imagination from the very first page and this is no surprise that it done this as I am a huge Greek Mythology lover and have studied it from a young age. I was destined to love this novel from the beginning and love it I did!

Bright Air Black begins in a disturbing way, it starts with a sea chase with Medea seated on board. She is aboard Jason’s ship the Argo and she is throwing butchered chunks of her brother over the deck. She brutally murdered her brother moments ago so that she could gain the favor of Hecate the goddess of darkness; in the hope that she will be able to slow down the pursuit of her father and escape him and his wrath. Bright Air Black is told in two parts; Book I is dedicated to the escape of Medea and Jason and the Argonauts and the pursuit of Medea’s father Aeetes. Book I also focuses on Medea as she ruminates on the heinous murder of her brother she has committed, it also focuses on Medea and her love for Jason and what she would do and what she will do for Jason and for her own freedom and ascension as she arrives at Jason’s home of Iolcos.

Book II is a powerful part of this novel and brings us to Medea’s more desperate time and her trickery to ensure the death of Pelias so that Jason can reclaim his rightful throne. However, matters continue to take a downward spiral from this point onward for Medea and she is lead down a destructive path which she will never be able to recover from. Medea soon starts to resent Jason when he fails to act as a king and their subsequent removal to Corinith. Jason’s withdrawal of love and protection for her and their children and the entrance of a love rival named Glauce sets Medea in a rage that is everlasting. Her revenge upon Jason and all those who have wronged her is violent and will have everlasting consequences.

Bright Air Black is a dark, atmospheric novel that will chill you to your core and will stay with you for a long time upon finishing it. It is an incredible novel about the rage and power and will of one woman; Medea. David Vann’s Medea is not like the woman in the original Greek Mythological story but rather Vann’s Medea is a fierce princess and priestess and although she is madly in love with Jason, she at the same time is fierce and she desperately seeks her own dominion to rule.

From the very beginning, this enchanting novel is relentless and there is never a moment to pause and process what you are reading. It is a novel that you can’t help but submit to and fully submerge yourself in; it is a book in my opinion that should be read in one sitting as it is not too long but I warn you, it is oppressively dark, sinister and harrowing, especially towards the end. David Vann has written an incredible, dark, violent modern Greek Mythology tale and it is a tale that you can’t help but surrender to and fall madly in love with.

Vann’s writing is extremely vivid and enchanting. He spares the reader little, especially with his brutal, gory scenes and descriptions of crimes. His gorgeous prose, however, does not just relate to these kinds of scenes but his descriptions relating to nature and the sea are also poetically beautiful and vividly stunning. Vann’s writing is hypnotic and mesmerizing and shockingly brilliant; he has a way with weaving his spell around horrifying scenes with some of the most gorgeous, crafted imagery I have ever read. Vann’s paragraphs were breathtakingly beautiful in a unique, special way. He has mixed short, fragmented sentences with longer more elaborate ones and the result of this is a stunning, uniquely, written novel.

What made Bright Air Black truly special to me was its narration style as the story is told from a third person perspective of Medea and it is all told in the present tense. Many individual lines throughout this novel were that of short bursts with uneven rhythms and I have to admit, it was a little strange at first but when you are pulled into the web of Medea’s thoughts, instincts and emotions you realize that some paragraphs are written like that for a reason. Overall Vann’s writing truly is poetically beautiful and unlike anything I have read before. He enchanted me from the very first page and kept me hooked all the way through without me ever once getting bored and this is so rare for a writer to accomplish these days so thank you, David Vann, for providing me with such a blissful, spellbinding reading experience!

Our protagonist Medea is one of my favorite characters of all time; both in literary form and Mythological form. Medea in this novel is a woman full of rage, raging against everything and everybody and this rage of hers if felt during the whole of this novel. She is never soft, never weak, even in her love for her children she is demanding, intense, and borderline frightening. Although Medea is all of these things you can’t help but admire her. I loved how the author managed to turn somebody like this, with chilling attributes and make her into a somewhat heroic figure, despite all of her evil deeds. How he has managed to do this I do not know but what I do know is that he has expanded on an already fascinating woman in history and has made me fall madly in love with her and her ways.

To conclude I would say of course if you love Mythology, specifically Greek Mythology then this novel is definitely for you! But I would also say to all the readers reading this who have not read much Mythology but would love to then this also is a wonderful novel for you to read. It is a novel full of great storytelling, phenomenal prose and a brilliantly crafted story which will stay with you for a long time! This enchanting novel gets Five Stars from me!

Thank you so much as ever for reading book lovers! I appreciate it so much! Please do comment below your thoughts on this novel and whether you could see yourself reading it; I would love to know! Please do comment whether you adore Mythology of any kind also, I do so much and love talking with fellow readers about it! Lastly let me know whether you have read any other Mythology inspired books, both fiction or non-fiction! Thank you so much as ever for reading!

Goodbye for now book lovers,

P.S. Here is a preview of the book for all of you lovely readers to enjoy! If you have loved what you have read and want to buy the wonderful novel then you can click the buy on Amazon button and it will take you straight to Amazon U.K.! If you are international then click the Book Depository link underneath it! Thank you so much again for reading!

Book Depository

Publisher; Penguin – William Heinemann

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257 thoughts on “Bright Air Black, David Vann

  1. Oh yes this sounds amazing! I would love to get it. I’ve dabbled in Greek mythology (and other mythology) so I’m already curious but from what you’ve said about the book, I definitely want to add it to my ever growing collection.

    Thanks for the heads up as usual!

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  2. This is such a great review! I read this book a couple of months ago and I loved it. It’s one of the most original and haunting things I’ve ever read. I’m a huge fan of Greek mythology and mythological retellings, and this really is one of the best ones I’ve read.

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      1. They really do! That makes sense actually, they would probably need to have a slight interest but really you could just scrap the mythology theme of the book and say to people it is a story about a cunning, murderous, scorned woman and then it would still be seen as a great story! If that makes sense!? Lol.

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      2. Actually that totally makes sense!! I think it could appeal to anyone looking for a strong and cunning heroine. Maybe I’ll try to talk it up more with that in mind. I want more people to read this book!

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      3. Same here!!! I’ll read whatever he writes in the future anyway, but here’s to hoping it’s mythology related!!! And I loved the feminist aspects to Bright Air Black so much I hope he chooses to center another one on a female character!

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      4. Yes! Imagine if he wrote a novel on Persephone!! That would be out of this world. I just want somebody to write a really amazing book on Persephone but there are none! I read this one book on Amazon called The Rape of Persephone and if I remember correctly it is a dark re-telling about how she was pretty evil and was taken for her own good. I can’t actually remember to be honest but it is free on Amazon so maybe you should have a look!

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      5. Ohhh wow that sounds interesting! That’s definitely a different take on her character than anything I’ve read before. Now I’m going to keep an eye out for more Persephone books, I’ll let you know if I find anything!

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      6. Please do! I would love to know of anymore books on her. I have heard of a lot of YA books about her but they are all romantic novels whereas I actually want a novel about ‘Her’ you know? Hopefully one day we will see one!

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      7. I love your vintage vibe!

        I have two cats, the grey one who’s in most of the pictures is named Percy and he is my baby. The other one is black and fluffy and her name is Lily, she isn’t in as many pictures because she just does not show up very well!! It is so difficult photographing black pets! 😦 Poor Lily, she’s really sweet and gorgeous but Percy gets all of the attention on social media. Anyway, they are both the sweetest little things, so thank you! I am very obsessed with them, haha.

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      8. Aww I love your love for your babies! I have three dogs so I know your love for your animals and although I have four children I feel like I have 7! Because my doggies are my babies too! Also Percy is an awesome name I love that!

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      9. Haha thank you, it suits him so well 🙂 What are your dogs’ names? I can’t believe you can keep up with four kids and three dogs, you must have endless energy!

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      10. I have a boy named Dexter, a girl named Penelope (after the wife of Odysseus lol) and another boy named Odin – this was my son’s idea! It suits our dog well though because Odin is an Irish wolfhound so he is huge! I think though that whenever we get more dogs we are going to stick with mythology names lol.

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      11. Oh my god I love it! I love the name Penelope, and the character of course! That’s so great. I should have given my cats mythology names. Since my cat is Percy sometimes I call him Perseus though!

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      12. Well Percy is a mythology name just a modern version! Have you seen the Percy Jackson movies or read the books ? ! I do love now that the theme is our future pets will have mythology names. I love that because I wish my children had mythology names but I am too scared! Although one of my sons is named Alik which means the leader of all mankind in greek! I always wanted a girl called Persephone but her name would just become Stephanie and I hate that name lol.

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      13. I actually haven’t read or seen Percy Jackson! I wish I’d read those books when I was younger because I think I would have loved them, but now I don’t read much middle grade or YA so I’m not sure if I’d like them, despite the mythology love! Oooh Alik is such a nice name! It’s hard because there are so many great names from mythology but they wouldn’t necessarily make great names in the 21st century, for example I love the way Antigone sounds but I would never name a child that, lol!

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      14. Like you I had wished I read it when I was younger because I know I would have loved it! I LOVE the movies though. I think they are great, despite the fact that they have the Mythology all wrong lol.

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      15. It’s crazy how well he knows me. I knew as soon as I met him he was my soulmate. I am not sure about your dating history and whether you have been in love but honestly, wait until you find that one. A feeling will hit you and you will now, it is better to wait for the love of your life than settle with just anybody (:

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      1. Ahhh it’s so hard to narrow it down!! I’m a big Iliad fan and really anything having to do with the Trojan War… I also love the tragedies, Medea and Oedipus Rex are probably my favorites. We also read a lot of Ovid in my high school Latin class, and I really loved Echo and Narcissus, and Orpheus and Eurydice. What are some of your favorites??

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      2. That’s so awesome!!! I love that story so much and it’s so cool that you’re teaching your kids mythology! That would totally be me as a mom. Are you familiar with the book D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths? It was my favorite book when I was younger (probably aged 10 or 11, I don’t exactly remember) and I actually just found my old copy the other day, so it may be time for a re-read soon. Maybe your kids would like it!

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      3. Does anybody else in your family love mythology? I first started to love it when my dad told me stories and whenever there was thunder and lightening he would tell me it is the gods fighting. I think that is so sweet and now I tell my children this! (:

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      4. That is such a cute story. My mom does! She’s the one who bought me the aforementioned D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths when I was younger. My parents are actually on vacation in Greece right now! It’s been my mom’s lifelong goal to go there, and since she retired last year she’s finally making it happen. I am both happy and jealous!

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      5. Aww how lovely! It is always amazing to have somebody in your family who loves Mythology also! I am jealous of your parents too! I think that is so beautiful how she has finally fulfilled her dream of going! So has she already planned all the places she wants to visit!? (:

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      6. They’re finally headed back today!! They spent a week in Rome, a week in Athens, and a week in the Greek islands. I am majorly jealous and cannot wait to see the thousand pictures my mother has undoubtedly taken!

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      7. I adore the Iliad and have read it many times. The Trojan War is fascinating to me and I do believe there is some truth in it. Have you read any articles on it or some books about the real facts behind it? It’s really interesting!

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      8. I’m so excited to find someone else who loves the Iliad so much!!! I’ve only read it twice (haha, ‘only,’ as if it’s not several hundred pages long) but I’m hoping to read it again soon. I totally agree with what you’ve said about myths and legends usually having some kind of foundation in historical truth – I definitely think that’s true of Jesus as well as the Trojan War. I actually haven’t read a lot of nonfiction on the subject, but I have Caroline Alexander’s The War That Killed Achilles on my shelf and I’m hoping to get to that soon! I find this stuff so fascinating from a literary perspective, so I’m dying to get a bit more knowledgeable on the history side of things!!

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      9. Of course! I’m 25. But I never really had a YA lit phase, I’ve always loved the classics etc. So it does not come as a surprise that a lot of the people I’ve bonded with over books have been older than me!

        I assume you’re older, since you have kids? (Not that people my age don’t have kids, but that thought still freaks me out!)

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      10. Oh my god, I am shocked that you are 22!!!! You are so mature! Wow, to already have kids and a husband – I can barely commit to what I want to make for breakfast every morning. May I ask how old your kids are?

        But I totally relate to the old soul thing – usually when I meet people online their first thought is that I’m much older. I guess that’s what we get for reading the Iliad multiple times like weirdos!

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      11. Aww bless! I married my husband when I was 17 and had my first boy when I was 18! My husband is older than me though so I didn’t have to struggle like a lot of young mums sadly do. My husband is an engineer so I am very lucky and fortunate that I didn’t have to struggle! My husband is American though whereas I am British. We got married in Scotland because there you can get married without parents permissions! Sorry though I am rambling, it’s a very long story but if you want to know more let me know!

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      12. Oh wow I can’t imagine getting married at 17!!! You are so lucky to have found the love of your life at that age! 🙂 Haha, I don’t think my parents would have been too happy about me getting married at 17 either so I get it! Scotland must have been beautiful for a wedding though! I’m glad your marriage is going strong and that you are happy!!

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      13. Now that I think back on it I go “Wow, I married my husband at 17!” Lol. It definitely isn’t conventional, however I love it. I am very traditional and decades ago women would always get married young and they would always marry somebody older so I love it!

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      14. My parents definitely weren’t happy! I don’t talk to my mum no more due to her disapproval but the rest of my family came to terms with it, when they saw how much I loved my husband and how much he loved me, they were perfectly ok!

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      15. I’m glad most of them have come to accept it! I definitely understand being upset with your 17 year old child getting married, but the fact that you are still together years later with children shows that it was not just a phase!

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      16. Exactly! I think that is what most of them understand now. Plus! It could have been worse, I am very fortunate that my husband is financially well off, I would have married him still if he was poor but the fact that he is means that my dad for example wasn’t as angry as it would have been worse if we had no home and no food you know? If that makes sense but that sounds so bad!

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      17. (Sorry for the hiatus in responding!) Oooh lucky you!!! No that doesn’t sound bad at all! Love is love, but if you happen to fall in love with someone with money, even better, haha! 🙂

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      18. You should definitely go, it is really stunning but stay away from the cities, visit the country only it is so beautiful and they have little boutiques and it makes for a lovely day (: where in the world are you from? (:

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      19. I’m from Vermont! (Northeast USA.) You mentioned that you’ve been to the US, which states have you visited? 🙂 I’ve been to the UK twice, but only London both times! It’s a lovely city but I’d love to see the UK countryside, even though where I’m from is quite rural!

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      20. Oh my god this is so funny, I have been picturing you living in England this whole time!!! Must have been all that Jane Eyre talk! That’s so cool that you love the states though!

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      21. Growing up I was always obsessed with the states and the American dream (I blame of Mice and Men!) and I just always envisioned my life here. So when I met my husband who happened to be so amazing but also American! I went for it and I am so happy we have a life out here now (:

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      22. You are so lucky to have been born and raised in the states. Their is endless possibility here and I always loved that. Over here you can move to another state and completely reinvent yourself but in the U.K. You can’t. I just adore America!

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      23. Yes, I love it!!! I read it several years ago but would definitely like to reread it. Have you read East of Eden? It’s the best book I’ve read so far this year, I’m absolutely in love with it.

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      24. I haven’t read East of Eden which is shocking considering Of Mice and Men is one of my favourite novels ever. However I plan too! I also desperately want to read The Grapes of Wrath!

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      25. That’s amazing! Your kids are so lucky to get to travel early on in life! It’s cool that they have these two totally different cultures to learn about.

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      26. I do adore how they have British heritage and American. Well, and Irish from me and my husband and Native American from my husband! I think it is so important in general though for children to learn about different cultures (:

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      27. I’m actually more of a city person than a country person! I do think it comes from having grown up in the country, though. The city is just much more novel for me. I’m not sure if I could live in a huge city like London or New York for too long, but I do love to visit.

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      28. See I grew up in a city that is why I love the country haha. You are so right, it just all depends on your up bringing. Trust me though if you lived in a big city for years you would want to move back to the country lol.

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      29. I think it is good to find a place that is more country but has cities close by. For instance that is why New Jersey is great for me, we are still moving but it’s good because jersey is quite small and right next door we have New York and Philadelphia etc. (:

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      30. WOW, that is a lot of kids!! I can barely keep up with my two cats, haha! That’s so cool that you have twins! I’m an only child which I actually like a lot, but I imagine it would have been great growing up with siblings who are around the same age. They are lucky!!

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      31. It has always been my life goal to have twins so I am so happy I finally do! I said to my husband when we first met that I have a strong feeling that we will have twins and he said “but you don’t know that!” And I said “trust me, we will” so when we found out I cried hysterically lol.

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      32. That is so cool!!! Does anyone else in your family have twins? I’ve heard it sort of runs in families. My best friend has always wanted twins too, and her mother’s a twin so I’m hoping it happens for her one day!

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      33. My mum was a twin so that is why I had them! I have two sisters so growing up everybody was like ” who will get the twins!” and I prayed it would be me and I am so happy I did have them! They are so gorgeous my heart melts when I look at them.
        Non-Identical twins do run in the family but Identical do not. What did her mother have? an identical twin or non-identical? (:

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      34. Oooh good question! To be honest I am a pretty big fan of modern medicine and technology, haha, so I don’t think I’d trade it… but if I had to, maybe sometime in the Victorian era? I’m not very interested in American history, but Victorian England is so cool!

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      35. Haha see I love modern medicine but technology not so much! Which is crazy because I am talking to you through technology right now lol. In my home we don’t have much technology and we don’t have Tv.. well, me and my husband do in our living room but that’s a secret! Lol. But no we just have a Tv to watch movies with as a family and there are no laptops or iPads available to our children. I want to raise them the traditional way (:

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      36. That is so great. I didn’t have a lot of technology growing up either and I firmly believe that is the way to go! Not that I’m a very conservative or traditional person, usually, but when I see 3 year olds playing with iPads it does make me a bit sad.

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      37. I know it is so shocking that children as young as three are on I pads! I hate it when I see that so much. A lot of parents I know too just give their child an I pad or put them in front of the Tv so they don’t moan. It makes me angry, instead of doing that they should take them to the park or something you know?

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      38. Yes, totally! I understand that parents are often exhausted and overworked, but it still strikes me as sort of lazy parenting to just give a kid an iPad to get them to be quiet. I’m not very knowledgable on the subject, but I imagine it’s not very good for their eyes to be staring at a screen so much at that young an age?! Taking them to the park is the right call!

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      39. You are so right in just everything you wrote, it really is not good for them and their eyes and it is just lazy parenting. Another pet hate of mine is when I pick my children up from school and how all the parents are on their phones! I literally see parents Rachel who have their children tugging at their skirt to show them their drawing and it is so sad.

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      40. Oh that is so sad! My parents are horrible with technology, which I tend to complain about a lot, but on the other hand I’m kind of glad I didn’t grow up with parents who are on their phones all the time!

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      41. The Victorian Era does look incredible! I love how they dressed Rachel! I am not sure whether you watch much Tv but have you seen Penny Dreadful? That is set in Victorian England and I think you would love it! (:

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      42. Oooh no I have not seen Penny Dreadful but I’ve been meaning to watch it! Thank you for reminding me! The costumes are so gorgeous. I have major wardrobe envy of that era.

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      43. I’ve actually never heard of it! But I just looked it up and it looks amazing!! So long, though! Is it worth the length?? The show looks cool too, I love Romola Garai!

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      44. Oh wow, that’s great!! I’ve read and loved Jane Eyre but that’s actually the only Bronte book I’ve read! And no Hardy or Austen for me yet 😦 So many books, so little time!! But I have Far From the Madding Crowd on my shelf and am really looking forward to that one.

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      45. Jane Eyre is my favourite novel of all time. I actually blame Jane Eyre for making me so traditional! After all, Jane married somebody much older than her and so did I and I too am a mother and a housewife. Growing up I idolised her and I still do now! (:

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      46. Awww that is so great! And she’s also a badass woman with an amazing personality 🙂 I love how hard she made Rochester work to get her, haha! She’s just the best. I need to read more of the Bronte sisters for sure!

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      47. She really does have a great personality, she’s a really unique character and so memorable! Haha, I loved that too. I think woman should always do that! That way they will know whether a man truly loves them (:

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      48. Far From the Madding Crowd is beautiful! It can be a little frustrating at times due to the numerous love interests (I hate reading about love triangles!) but once you get pass that it is really beautiful and lovely. I need to watch the recent movie adaption actually!

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      49. I actually saw the recent film adaptation and loved it! I didn’t know anything about the story going into it but have a major girl crush on Carey Mulligan, so I thought I’d go without having read the book and I adored the story. I hate love triangles as well, usually, but I think I’m less critical of them in classic lit than recent YA novels – mainly because they just get so tiresome and I want authors to start getting more innovative with plot! But for classics, it’s alright. You should definitely watch the movie though, it’s gorgeous!

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      50. Aww I am so glad you loved the movie! I will have to watch it soon definitely! It’s funny because all the mummies and wifes here, we have a group and it’s this chick flick movie night where we all drink wine (although I don’t drink) so hey! Maybe for once I will suggest something different lol.

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      51. I first fell in love with her in An Education, but I loved Shame too!!! That movie was so dark and intense, I loved it. And she was so good! I saw her on stage in Skylight on Broadway a few years ago and she was incredible! Are you familiar with that play? I think you’d like it, it’s sort of a romance and the man is much older!

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      52. Oh wow you saw her on Broadway that is amazing! I would have killed to see her in that. I have been to a few Broadway shows but Chicago will always be my favourite! When I first moved to America with my husband he took me there and we stayed in New York for a few days and it was literally the best thing ever (:

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      53. New York is one of my favorite cities in the world, but Chicago is so nice as well! I went there in the winter once and thought I’d die from the cold, but I also went for a few days last summer and it was gorgeous.

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      54. I adore New York and I love Chicago even more. Me and my husband always make sure to visit the Jazz clubs in New York and Chicago whenever we visit. I am obsessed with Jazz. Do you like it? (:

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      55. I do like jazz music! I’m not very knowledgeable about it though. But I actually went to college in New Orleans, so there was a lot of jazz in that city!

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      56. I can’t believe this hasn’t come up yet! Hahhaa I like how our friendship started with ‘what’s your favorite mythological story’ and we’re just now getting to ‘where did you go to college’ lol!

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      57. Haha I know it is so great! Oh my gosh I just realised Rachel that I still haven’t emailed you!!! I am so so sorry, I am useless but I am making this a priority and will email you asap about what we talked about (:

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      58. It was amazing!!!! It’s such a beautiful city with so much history and culture! There’s also such a strong community aspect to that city, especially post-Katrina. Because of Katrina and all of the efforts to rebuild the city, my university had a mandatory community service requirement to graduate, so that was really cool, getting to give back to the city. There was always so much going on, all these little festivals on random weekends. My school (Tulane) was uptown in a really nice and clean part of the city, so that was great, I’m not sure I’d want to live near the French quarter! But then getting to visit the French quarter was also really cool. It was such a great city! The only downside was that I’m a vegetarian, so the cuisine (basically lots of seafood) was not exactly my thing!

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      59. Rachel thank you so much for telling me all of this! This has inspired me to visit New Orleans again but also to have my children consider this college when they are all grown up. I know, I think WAY ahead lol.

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      60. I love cities like this and I love when there is always something happening. Culture is very important and participating in that by going to festivals etc is really amazing. What an experience for you!

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      61. I wish you could have seen it!!! They were both so good! I saw the closing performance on Broadway and they were both amazing! I think Carey Mulligan was pregnant at that point too, I don’t know how she managed to do 8 shows a week!

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      62. What you said about love triangles makes perfect sense actually. It’s true, with modern literature they are tiresome but if it is a classical novel it’s ok because they were almost the first of their kind you know? Plus! Novels wrote back then were incredible and were wrote by amazing writers. Whereas so many books these days are poorly written!

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      63. Yes, totally!! I love the classics so much, even when I don’t enjoy the story I’ll usually at least enjoy the writing. I love plenty of contemporary books too, but it’s incredible just how many terribly written ones there are!

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      64. Oh wow, that sounds amazing!! I’ve read the Robert Fagles translation twice and I really enjoy it, but I’m looking to mix it up so I’m planning on reading the new Caroline Alexander translation soon. I also recently heard of War Music by Christopher Logue which is supposed to be a sort of hybrid translation/adaptation, and I am really intrigued by that premise so I definitely want to check that out. And now I’ll have to keep an eye out for the Cambridge edition too!

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      65. I have read the Robert Fagles translation too and I think it is exceptional! The Iliad for me just never gets boring because whenever you read a new interpretation on it the text seems like a new story. I love it all so much! (:

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      66. Totally!! I’ve frequently said that the Iliad would be my desert island book – it’s the sort of thing you can probably read 20 times and still get something new out of every time. That’s definitely not true of all the books I love.

        Do you read or speak any Greek? I wish I did but I actually don’t know a single word. So when I say I like certain translations I’m just basing it off the way the words sound in English, and whether or not the translation captures the right tone. But I love foreign languages and translation, so I wish I were able to read the Iliad in Ancient Greek!

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      67. I can’t believe I have not picked the Iliad as my desert island book I never thought of that! I agree with you completely though it would be a fantastic book to have on a desert island as everytime you read it you could pick up something new (:

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      68. I can read some Greek Words and I speak a tiny tiny amount of Greek but not much! I just had to learn a little when I was studying because I always found it hard to pronounce the words and in essays you would have to write the Greek text etc. Plus, doing a presentation and not knowing how to pronounce the Greek work is so embarrassing!

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      69. Si, parlo italiano! My Italian is definitely not as good now as it was a couple of years ago since I never have an excuse to use it these days! But I can still read it just fine. It’s such a beautiful language, I’m really glad I had the opportunity to study it!

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      70. How amazing! I love that, you are so lucky to have studied it, I wish I spent more time in school studying for languages but I never saw the point in it back then! That is why now my children are already learning French. It is better to learn it whilst you are young too. So my babies listen to French cd’s and French toys and my eldest get read books by me in French! I am learning too I love it!

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      71. That’s amazing! I’m so jealous, I wish I had grown up learning French. They taught it to us in elementary school, but we didn’t actually learn all that much. I took a few classes later on too so I’m decent at it, but definitely not fluent. Your kids are so lucky!

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      72. I am not sure whether you are just interested in Greek Mythology but if you are interested in Greek culture in the Archaic period and all of their battles, their way of life, everything then I recommend reading The Oxford companion to Greek history. It is amazing and tells you everything about them and how they worshipped their gods etc. It is so wonderful!

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      73. The War that Killed Achilles sounds amazing! I will have to look at that one. If you are looking for factual Greek books and Mythology books I would look at Bloomsbury Academic. There books are AMAZING! I honestly have so many from them. One is about the supernatural in Greece and it talks about nymphs etc and it’s great! They also have really amazing books on what life was like back then, especially for women!

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      74. Oh wow those sound SO COOL. I will definitely check that out! Do you know the title of any of the books on women? As a feminist and a fan of ancient Greece that sounds right up my alley! I’m going to go broke collecting books on mythology, I just know it…

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      75. Some Bloomsbury books of the top of my head are: Women’s life in classical Greece and Rome, The Presocratics and the Supernatural: Magic, Philosophy, etc. And there are many more but I am so useless with remembering!

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      76. I’ve been on the website for about 10 seconds and I already see five books I want to read – this is going to be such a slippery slope!!! Thank you so much for enabling my Ancient Greece addiction!

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      77. You are soon going to be obsessed with their books they are honestly so incredible and every section has a host of really amazing books. They have a new book out about Rome’s first witch and that looks incredible!

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      78. This book looks amazing and it has been on my list for some time now! I love their books because they are so specialist and they focus on certain characters and I adore that. Characters we want to know more about!

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      79. YES, that is so cool!!! I love how scholars devote so much of their lives to just one classics character in particular – it’s so admirable and it gives us all this amazing information!

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      80. I know! Scholars in general are amazing, they put their life and soul into these kinds of books so that the age of literature doesn’t die. I think it is SO sad how children are not taught about classical literature in school or about the Iliad. It breaks my heart!

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      81. I agree! If it weren’t for my Latin class I wouldn’t have ended up studying the classics very much at all. I actually did read the Iliad for school, but it was in college, and it was in a really intensive class where we read 12 books in one semester, so we didn’t spend very much time on the Iliad. It’s a story that deserves so much more time devoted to it!

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      82. If only they published a book on Persephone and Hades! Also, I would really recommend trying to get some review copies from them. They have sent me many before and they are the sweetest people. If you want I could email you their publicity contact? Plus, the fact that you already have a theme of mythology on your website and the fact that you have degrees in classical subjects means they would be happy too! Let me know your thoughts (:

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      83. Oooh, that sounds amazing!! That would be so sweet of you, thank you! 🙂 I never think of asking for review copies of nonfiction, but that would be such a cool opportunity!

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      84. For example there was somebody called Jesus and he did inspire the people. Whether he done all the mystical stuff I don’t know but there definitely was a man called Jesus! Same with Santa Claus… he is just a version of the toy maker Saint Nicholas.

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      85. Some more favourite stories of mine though are definitely Persephone and hades, that is probably my favourite to be honest. Then I love the minatour myth as well as Artemis and Actaeon myth where she turns him into a stag!

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      86. Ohhh I forgot all about Persephone earlier – that’s definitely one of my favorite stories as well!!!! And yes, the minotaur is also great! Also Daedalus and Icarus… so many good ones. This is making me want to do a top 5 mythology stories post at some point!

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      87. It is such an incredible story! I just love how it is used to explain the seasons. How when Persephone is home everything blooms because her mother is happy but when she goes back to the underworld everything dies again because she is sad. It’s really poignant.

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      88. You know, I’ve never been sure about this! I’m actually really interested in all different interpretations of Persephone’s character. But I’m inclined to agree with you – I think she must have hated it at first, being taken against her will and all, but I like to think that she wasn’t just a victim, and that she found some happiness there.

        Have you heard of the novel Alcestis by Katharine Beutner? It’s a retelling of the Euripides play with a lesbian twist between Alcestis and Persephone – it was a very unique read!

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      89. Agreed!!! We need more Persephone-centered novels that aren’t romance. I’m definitely intrigued by the way certain authors spin her relationship with Hades, but we need more about Persephone herself!

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      90. Yes! The Icarus story is amazing. What I love about Mythology, especially Greek Mythology is that all of the stories have meaning behind them and an important lesson. Just like narcissus and learning to let people love you etc.

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      91. Yes, completely!!! There’s so much of our contemporary society that we can see reflected in Greek society and the stories they told – reading mythology feels simultaneously really present and like a fascinating window into the past. It’s such a privilege to have access to these stories they were telling thousands of years ago!

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      92. What you just wrote is perfect, it is such a privilege to read all of their texts and hear all of their stories. I am fascinated by cultures so whenever I get to delve a bit further into one I adore it. Recently I have started to love Norse and Egyptian Mythology more but Greek Mythology will always be my first love!

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      93. Oooh that sounds so interesting! I know a little bit about Norse and Egyptian mythology but nowhere near as much as Greek – I should probably start reading up on some other cultures!! But there is so much about Greek mythology alone – you could study it for a lifetime and still not get everything!

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      94. Exactly! It is so hard to decide whether to stick with Greek or explore more. It actually saddens me that I will not know everything about Greek Mythology and Greek History. It’s so sad isn’t it! But there is just too much knowledge that we will never know of!

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      95. It was my favorite class in high school! I feel like I learned more in that class than the rest of my classes combined, between the language and grammar and history and art history and literature and astronomy and architecture… I had an incredible teacher and she helped us approach studies of ancient Rome from as many perspectives as possible, so that class really sparked my love for a lot of these things! We translated bits of the Aeneid too which was really cool. I wish I remembered more of the language now!

        As for gods and goddesses, I’ve always loved Artemis, she’s definitely my favorite. The Actaeon story is so great. And I like Aphrodite too! Most of the goddesses, really. Also Hades.

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      96. Oh wow, that is so cool!!! I’m envious of that – I wish I’d studied classics more in college! I have a degree in Italian literature, so I got a bit of it with the Aeneid and Dante, and also I have a minor in Art History so there’s always some mythology mixed in there too, but if I were to do it over I’d probably double major in classics!

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      97. A minor in Art History that is so amazing! I have studied art through my classical study degree but I wish I had studied it more because it is breathtaking. Without art we would not know our history. We still had some written texts but art is what really told us of our history and I adore it so much!

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      98. Seriously!! This is so great! Same here, I absolutely adore art history and really most aesthetic things. I spent my junior year of college abroad in Italy and it was absolutely incredible seeing all of those paintings and sculptures up close!

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      99. How amazing that must have been to actually live there! I have visited Italy many times as well as Greece and France etc but I wish I could just live there! I have already said to my husband that when we retire we have to live in either Greece or Italy. Just how breathtaking would it be to be surrounded by the beauty, art and history everyday all day!

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      100. When I was in Italy I traveled around a bit (France, Belgium, England, etc and then I went to Germany a different time) but I’ve actually never been to Greece, isn’t that tragic?! Retiring in Greece or Italy is totally the dream!!!

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      101. Thank you!! I am determined to get there one day! It looks so beautiful, like it’s straight out of a painting or something, I can’t believe it’s a real place!

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      102. Artemis too is probably my favourite! She is just really incredible and I love what she represents. I really adore Aphrodite because I feel like she is really misunderstood. Look at us talking about the Greek gods like they were real and here today! Lol. I still find it so amazing how people in Greece still practice this religion!

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      103. Artemis is just the best. Showing young girls that they deserve to have full control over their bodies and sexuality. So important!!!

        And yes, Aphrodite is also great!

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      104. And yes, Hades is amazing and my favourite out of Poseidon and Zeus. Again I think he is really misunderstood and I really don’t think he is as evil as everybody makes him out to be. Also I find it fascinating how there are no paintings of him because he lived in the underworld. It kind of makes you think did these painters actually draw inspiration from someone? I just think it is spooky how he is the represented at all through art because of this.

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      105. I think it’s so interesting that because of the way the concept of the underworld has evolved through history that we now think of it as this horrible, dark, evil place, when it really wasn’t at all – it was just a different realm of the universe. I totally agree that Hades wasn’t evil. When people say that they’re definitely ascribing aspects of different theologies to the Greek underworld.

        And YES that is SO INTERESTING I am so fascinated by the lack of representations of Hades!!! I’d love to read more about that actually. Also the Bernini sculpture of Hades and Persephone (Pluto and Proserpina technically) is probably my favorite sculpture of all time. So he wasn’t depicted very often, but when they did it they did it right!!

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      106. What you just wrote again is so perfect! You are literally my Mythology soulmate lol. I agree, it’s fascinating. It wasn’t depicted as hell it was just a different realm it was only later on that it was represented as being pure evil.

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      107. YES totally!!! I love it so much!!!! I know a lot of people who like Greek mythology well enough, but very few people who’d be happy to carry on a week-long conversation about it!

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      108. Not a chance!! It is so nice to have met you 🙂 (Again, sorry for disappearing – I’m terrible at responding to messages when I’m having a busy week! TGIF lol!)

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      109. The Bernini sculpture of Persephone and Hades is my favourite! It is a true masterpiece and I have always been in awe of the sculpture. What I loved about it too is that technically that is not them in the underworld but rather when he is actually abducting her so again it does make you wonder why these artists didn’t even try to depict him in the underworld. It makes you think that maybe their could be some truth to these happenings.

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      110. I am so glad you love that story too! There is this book actually that you would adore so I am going to find out the title and send you a link to it! I bought it when I was 15 and I have it still to this day. It is massive, maybe 600 pages long but the book is not A4, I don’t know what size it is but it is huge! It has information Mythology from all over the world and it is detailed, but easily readable with beautiful coloured photos of art and pictures of the Trojan War and it is so breathtaking! It has sections though for greek mythology, Roman, Norse, Scottish, Scandinavian, native… every kind you can think of!

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