Book Review: A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

December 22, 2022


A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes tells the story of the Odyssey from a female perspective. Ms. Haynes is an award-winning journalist, writer and comedian.

  • 368 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Picador
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎1509836217

Book Review: A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
My rating for A Thousand Ships– 4

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My daughter bought this book and was kind enough to let me read it. It sat for a few months on my desk until I finally decided to read – and I’m glad I did.

One of the first things I noticed about A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes is the great sense of humor, the other is the number of characters involved. I have no idea how many there are, but there are a lot and it’s a true testament to the author’s skill that they don’t all get lost in the narrative.

The book acknowledges the suffering of the women during the Trojan War. From the petty goddesses to the Amazon Penthesilea dying at the hands of Achilles. We are with the Trojan mothers who witness the fall of their city, as well as the deaths of their husbands and sons. We are privy to Penelope’s thoughts while waiting for two decades for her husband, Ulysses, to come back.

I have to admit that I read this book with some skepticism, but I was happy to find out that the author did not need to make the men look weak or incompetent in order to make the women look strong. Quite the opposite, the women in this book are just as strong, majestic, and interesting as their male counterparts who had thousands of years to enter our consciousness. As Calliope reminded us at the end:

“I have picked up the old stories and I have shaken them until the hidden women appear in plain sight.”

The women are capable of just as much revenge and violence as the males, as proven by Clytemnestra, they are just as cunning and honorable – many much more. Even though I enjoyed the concept, toward the end I was just reading it to finish, as the story is too broad, but still very enjoyable, regardless if you read the Odyssey or not.

BuyA Thousand Ships from*
More Books by Natalie Haynes*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I bought book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

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