My first encounter with the story of Atalanta was as a retelling on a cassette tape I heard as a child. Like many children’s versions, it only told the story of the race for her hand in marriage, and it included a happy ending: she tied the race with a good man, who promised not to marry her until she had accomplished her goal of seeing the world. I learned the rest of her story piecemeal, from various sources. Jennifer Saint’s novel is the second comprehensive fictionalization I’ve come across.
I’m a scholar of Greek myth in only the most casual sense, so I can’t speak to how closely Saint follows the original myths or to what historical basis they may have. I am a frequent reader, however, and rather than For the Swiftest (the other Atalanta novel I read), her Atalanta reminds me most of Song of Achilles. Both are beautifully written, but both leave me feeling empty. The characters, especially Atalanta, feel flat and largely unchanging.
I felt like I was trudging along on an adventure that was not fully my own, and one that didn’t feel like it belonged to Atalanta either. For such a powerful woman, she rarely has agency of her own.
|Page Count||304 pages|
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