Elektra by Jennifer Saint is a reimaging of the story surrounding Elektra, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. On the eve of the Trojan war, Agamemnon commits the unthinkable to ensure success in his endeavors, filicide. While Clytemnestra never forgives her husband, Elektra never forgives her mother for what comes next. With the Trojan war as a backdrop, the members of the Atreus house betrayal of each other become the betrayals of a nation.
“Rain begins to fall, softly at first but quickly gathering pace. I pull my cloak around my daughter, sheltering her little head from the wind coming up from the east and, holding her close to my heart, I turn back home.”
– Jennifer Saint, Elektra
When I received a copy of Elektra by Jennifer Saint, I was excited. The cover is gorgeous (that orange!) and the subject one that is very nostalgic for me. I am loving this revival of Greek Myths that is happening since I grew up with these. Saint and others are doing a fantastic job bringing these stories to life with new vigor and emotional depth than they had previously been told.
This particular myth is fascinating since the more famous action (the Trojan War) is happening as a backdrop to the strife in the house of Atreus. While the Trojan Horse and Helen are well-trod myths, I feel like that left at home while these men went off to fight are often footnotes and afterthoughts. Saint brought them and their whole beings to the foreground.
Ultimately, this is a story about a family that is tearing itself apart because of the actions of its leader, Agamemnon. Almost every person in this, from Agamemnon to Clytemnestra to ultimately Elektra and her siblings is singly focused on the revenge. Saint did such a beautiful job writing about those actions with succinct and sweetly sad prose to give an emotional depth to these betrayals and revenge.
I recommend this book if you liked Ariadne and are looking for more reimaginings of Greek Myths. Elektra by Jennifer Saint will be out on May 3rd by Flatiron Books. I received an arc of Elektra by Jennifer Saint from the publisher Flatiron Books.
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