Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Review of Elektra by Jennifer Saint

This book review was written by Eugene Kernes   

Book can be found in: 
Book Club Event = Book List (01/13/2024)

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“Every word I speak is unwelcome.  My throat is raw from the words that are torn from me when I touch someone, when I look into their eyes and see the blinding white truth.  My prophecies rip out my insides, but still they come, unbidden, even as I quake at the consequences.  My listeners curse me, they chase me away, they say I am mad, and they laugh.” – Jennifer Saint, Chapter Two: Cassandra, Page 15

“At first, Agamemnon was a generous, joyful ruler of Mycenae, his project uniting all the Greeks a long-held ambition that he was grateful to be realizing.  But, slowly, a peevishness began to settle over him and I saw him fretting from time to time.  His imperious dismissal of what the slaves might think had been bluster.  He couldn’t help letting slip his worries that perhaps he had not stamped out all lingering loyalty to Thyestes in his kingdom.  Further afield, the Greeks were scattered across their islands, each with their own king and their own laws.  Agamemnon worried that, even with the strength of Sparta and Mycenae together, the other lesser kings of Greece did not always recognize his superiority.” – Jennifer Saint, Chapter Five: Clytemnestra, Page 38

“When I thought of poverty before, I thought it was preferable to the sight of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus.  I thought that not seeing their smug and smirking faces would make living here a luxurious delight in comparison.  I thought that leaving would buy me my dignity.  But there is no dignity in being poor.  It is a grinding, exhausting existence, and every morning I wake and stare at the dry, plain walls, which seem to shrink closer around me.” – Jennifer Saint, Chapter Thirty-Two: Elektra, Pages 242-243


Is This An Overview?

This is a retelling of the Trojan War and the decisions in the aftermath through the perspective of Elektra, Clytemnestra, and Cassandra.  Electra is a princess of Mycenae, daughter to Queen Clytemnestra and King Agamemnon.  Cassandra is a princess of Troy.  A tale inhabiting Greek culture and mythology.  A tale of the gods intervention, how the people react to what is needed to be done, and cycles of violence.  Elektra, Clytemnestra, and Cassandra, each in their own way try to prevent conflict from escalating, but cannot avoid the prophecies made.  Each tries to influence how conflicts are resolved, but each is limited by political power and a culture seeking glory and vengeance.  Each decision creates its own divergent interpretations, a source of conflict that often has consequences. 



The story tries to be consistent with the original story of the Trojan War.  There might not be anything new for those already familiar with the story.

Questions to Consider while Reading the Book

•What is the raison d’etre of the book?  For what purpose did the author write the book?  Why do people read this book?
•What are some limitations of the book?
•To whom would you suggest this book?
•Who is Elektra?
•What does Elektra think of Agamemnon?
•What does Elektra think of Clytemnestra?
•What does Elektra think of Georgios? 
•Why did Elektra and Georgios spend Orestes away? 
•Who did Elektra marry? 
•Why did Pylades and Elektra take Orestes to Mount Olympus?
•Who is Agamemnon? 
•Who is Clytemnestra?
•What does Clytemnestra think of Agamemnon?
•What does Clytemnestra think of Helen? 
•Why did Clytemnestra want Agamemnon to survive and come back after the war?
•Why did Clytemnestra and Aegisthus cooperate? 
•Why did Agamemnon save Aegisthus?
•How does Agamemnon views about authority change? 
•Why did Agamemnon sacrifice Iphigenia?
•How did Elektra take the news of Iphigenia? 
•Who is Aegisthus? 
•Who is Helen?
•How was the choice made of Helen’s suitor? 
•Who is Cassandra?
•What power does Cassandra have?
•Why did Cassandra join the service of Apollo? 
•What did Cassandra think of Helen? 
•Who is Paris?
•Why did Paris go to Sparta? 
•What prophecy was there on Paris? 
•Why did the Greek attack Troy? 
•What is the curse on House of Atreus?
•Should someone follow the gods demands? 
•How did Odysseus and Achilles join the Trojan War? 

Book Details
Publisher:             Flatiron Books
Edition ISBN:      9781250773623
Pages to read:       288
Publication:          2022
1st Edition:           2022
Format:                 Paperback

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    5
Content          5
Overall          5