From the list on reminding you how strange the past really was.
Who am I?
I’ve always been interested in history. I grew up in London, where there's a lot of it. But what made me want to write fiction about the past was experiences of imaginative affinity for certain other times and places. My first book is set during World War One. I've always felt connected to the change in sensibility that many people went through then, from an optimistic, moralistic, Victorian outlook, in which, to quote Paul Fussell from The Great War and Modern Memory, people “believed in Progress and Art and in no way doubted the benignity even of technology” to an understanding that human beings and our societies contained deeper, more persistent shadows.
Emily's book list on reminding you how strange the past really was
Why did Emily love this book?
The challenge of writing historical fiction set in the distant past is bridging the vast gap between our modern understanding of the world and that of our distant forebears, since even our most basic assumptions and values undergo enormous changes over time. Those who love Renault’s works about classical antiquity relish the ability of her novels to truly carry us into another world, to make it felt and intelligible. This novel follows the fortunes of the mythic hero Theseus, from his origins in Troizen to his departure for Athens to find his father, his achievement of the kingship of Eleusis, his voluntary enslavement in Crete as a bull-dancer, an acrobat who vaults over living animals for spectacle, his confrontation with the minotaur and his eventual return home, older and more baffled by existence. It gives dimension to the mythic hero, a complexity that is at once familiar and profoundly, unsettlingly…