Medusa by Jessie Burton

I am a big fan of Greek mythology retellings at the moment, partly because I only know a few of the Greek myth, the ones we are always told, but also because so many amazing authors have taken on the challenge of bringing these fantastic stories to a new audience. (I know purists would say to read the original translations, and that is something I am constantly considering and, when the mood takes me, I will do so.)

Medusa by Jessie Burton is one that I have had an eye on for a while and, when I saw that it was on the ‘Yoto Carnegie Medal longlist for writing 2023’, I knew I had to read it.

I absolutely adored this book. I thought it was a great way to tell the story of Medusa, from not only her perspective but possibly from the perspective that it should always have been told from. I had been one of those people who had believed that Medusa was a villain, as – if we are honest – that is how history and culture have presented her to the world. However, now I have a new idea about Medusa and can actually judge with more understanding of her, I can see her as quite the hero of her own story. And, maybe if she had been treated better by the gods of Ancient Greece, or indeed simply left alone, she would not have been painted as a villain.

Jessie Burton writes beautifully about Medusa and her story, and I would really recommend this to anybody who has an interest in these stories and how they are being interpreted in the 21st century. Especially with there being a feminist edge to these myths – ones that we think we know, but should definitely re-examine.

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