14 June 2017
The Children of Jocasta
(Mantle, 352 PP, £16.99)
Tablet bookshop price £15.30 • tel 01420 592974
This is an extremely successful retelling of an ancient story, one which lies in our bones: the tale of Oedipus. But it is not exactly the tale as we know it from the Greek tragedians and Homer.
Natalie Haynes’ first novel, The Amber Fury, attached material from the same oedipal canon to a tale of troubled students in modern Edinburgh and their bereaved teacher, shaping the two into a fatalistic descent towards violence and tragedy. It was vividly evocative of teenage interaction, but tended to fracture away from its classical roots where the themes of humans manipulated by gods and twenty-first-century individual responsibility were in direct opposition; it was a good novel but flawed.
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