Hot Best Seller

Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung

Availability: Ready to download

In fierce, textured voices, the women of Ovid's Metamorphoses claim their stories and challenge the power of myth I am the home of this story. After thousands of years of other people's tellings, of all these different bridges, of words gotten wrong, I'll tell it myself. Seductresses and she-monsters, nymphs and demi-goddesses, populate the famous myths of Ovid's In fierce, textured voices, the women of Ovid's Metamorphoses claim their stories and challenge the power of myth I am the home of this story. After thousands of years of other people's tellings, of all these different bridges, of words gotten wrong, I'll tell it myself. Seductresses and she-monsters, nymphs and demi-goddesses, populate the famous myths of Ovid's Metamorphoses. But what happens when the story of the chase comes in the voice of the woman fleeing her rape? When the beloved coolly returns the seducer's gaze? When tales of monstrous transfiguration are sung by those transformed? In voices both mythic and modern, Wake, Siren revisits each account of love, loss, rape, revenge, and change. It lays bare the violence that undergirds and lurks in the heart of Ovid's narratives, stories that helped build and perpetuate the distorted portrayal of women across centuries of art and literature. Drawing on the rhythms of epic poetry and alt rock, of everyday speech and folk song, of fireside whisperings and therapy sessions, Nina MacLaughlin, the acclaimed author of Hammer Head, recovers what is lost when the stories of women are told and translated by men. She breathes new life into these fraught and well-loved myths.


Compare

In fierce, textured voices, the women of Ovid's Metamorphoses claim their stories and challenge the power of myth I am the home of this story. After thousands of years of other people's tellings, of all these different bridges, of words gotten wrong, I'll tell it myself. Seductresses and she-monsters, nymphs and demi-goddesses, populate the famous myths of Ovid's In fierce, textured voices, the women of Ovid's Metamorphoses claim their stories and challenge the power of myth I am the home of this story. After thousands of years of other people's tellings, of all these different bridges, of words gotten wrong, I'll tell it myself. Seductresses and she-monsters, nymphs and demi-goddesses, populate the famous myths of Ovid's Metamorphoses. But what happens when the story of the chase comes in the voice of the woman fleeing her rape? When the beloved coolly returns the seducer's gaze? When tales of monstrous transfiguration are sung by those transformed? In voices both mythic and modern, Wake, Siren revisits each account of love, loss, rape, revenge, and change. It lays bare the violence that undergirds and lurks in the heart of Ovid's narratives, stories that helped build and perpetuate the distorted portrayal of women across centuries of art and literature. Drawing on the rhythms of epic poetry and alt rock, of everyday speech and folk song, of fireside whisperings and therapy sessions, Nina MacLaughlin, the acclaimed author of Hammer Head, recovers what is lost when the stories of women are told and translated by men. She breathes new life into these fraught and well-loved myths.

30 review for Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amalia Gavea

    Altering myths in the most vulgar, trashy way possible to communicate pseudo-contemporary/wanna-be revolutionary, feminist messages is ridiculous. It's been done to death and it's tiring. Before you decide to mess with Greek Mythology, projecting modern values, learn a) not to use vulgar contemporary colloquialisms, and b) respect the original material. I've had enough of average writers violating Greek culture because they are unable to come up with some form of original material.

  2. 4 out of 5

    ˗ˏˋ aphrodite ˊˎ˗

    this has to be one of the most impactful books I’ve read in a long time. I cannot begin to describe how gut wrenching and enlightening this book is. it is extremely hard to read and has countless triggers (sexual abuse, physical abuse, depression, among many others) but my god did it leave its mark. this book gives voice to women of ovid’s metamorphosis and shows the brutality they faced in these stories. it is angry, it’s devastating, and it’s absolutely empowering. this book is not for this has to be one of the most impactful books I’ve read in a long time. I cannot begin to describe how gut wrenching and enlightening this book is. it is extremely hard to read and has countless triggers (sexual abuse, physical abuse, depression, among many others) but my god did it leave its mark. this book gives voice to women of ovid’s metamorphosis and shows the brutality they faced in these stories. it is angry, it’s devastating, and it’s absolutely empowering. this book is not for everyone. it is written in a unique way that many, many people will not enjoy. and you will likely be confused if you don’t have a grasp on greek mythology. but it was the book for me. I can’t describe this book and the emotional toll it placed on me but I can tell you it was absolutely brilliant, revolutionary, and an utter masterpiece.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jackie (Jacademic)

    This past Spring, I taught a unit on contemporary feminist re-imaginings of the Classics and I sincerely wish I could have included Wake, Siren in my syllabus, as Nina MacLaughlin's retellings of tales from The Metamorphoses were as unflinching, cathartic, and ferociously feminist as I'd hoped they would be. Fair warning: this is often a difficult read due to its explicit handling of sexual violence (given the source material, however, and the project undertaken by Wake, Siren, that was not a This past Spring, I taught a unit on contemporary feminist re-imaginings of the Classics and I sincerely wish I could have included Wake, Siren in my syllabus, as Nina MacLaughlin's retellings of tales from The Metamorphoses were as unflinching, cathartic, and ferociously feminist as I'd hoped they would be. Fair warning: this is often a difficult read due to its explicit handling of sexual violence (given the source material, however, and the project undertaken by Wake, Siren, that was not a surprise for me) and MacLaughlin's prose is experimental, so if that isn't your bag, you may not enjoy this. That said, I appreciated MacLaughlin's style choices, as her beautiful, haunting prose, for me, comes the closest of any classics reimagining that I have read to truly capturing the primal, dreamlike experience of reading the ancients and Ovid in particular. Some of the tales are stronger than others, but, on the whole, I found Wake, Siren a powerful collection performing interesting and important cultural work by reorienting the perspectives of many of the ravishings of The Metamorphoses (which several of Wake, Siren's heroines point out have been troublingly romanticized by Western culture for centuries) from the perspective of those brutalized by husbands, fathers, and the ever-capricious gods. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

    If the folks in Ovid’s Metamorphoses were from New York and somewhat uncouth, they might sound like these retelling of their stories from MacLaughlin. Some of the reworking are fun in terms of humor and eroticism, but I didn’t really feel like these offered new insights or changed the relevance of the stories. There’s a lot of justifiable anger in the stories, but little in the way of new reckonings or new angles, Still, thiis collection might find a home in literature classes on adaptation or If the folks in Ovid’s Metamorphoses were from New York and somewhat uncouth, they might sound like these retelling of their stories from MacLaughlin. Some of the reworking are fun in terms of humor and eroticism, but I didn’t really feel like these offered new insights or changed the relevance of the stories. There’s a lot of justifiable anger in the stories, but little in the way of new reckonings or new angles, Still, thiis collection might find a home in literature classes on adaptation or revisiting classical works.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    4 Stars - Great book I am loving the trend of myths becoming popular in modern literature. MacLaughlin does a great job of taking stories in which women traditionally had subordinate roles and were constantly demeaned and giving women the power to tell their own stories. The characters have a modern vocabulary. The juxtaposition is interesting and personally I felt that it added to the stories (or most of them) rather than detract from them. Since this book is a collection of stories, some are 4 Stars - Great book I am loving the trend of myths becoming popular in modern literature. MacLaughlin does a great job of taking stories in which women traditionally had subordinate roles and were constantly demeaned and giving women the power to tell their own stories. The characters have a modern vocabulary. The juxtaposition is interesting and personally I felt that it added to the stories (or most of them) rather than detract from them. Since this book is a collection of stories, some are stronger than others. But on the whole, it’s a strong read. Personally, my favorite is the story of Medusa - completely misunderstood character. I struggled with the Eurdyice story. I love the story or Orpheus and Eurdyice and I don’t understand why MacLaughlin did what she did to that story. (view spoiler)[She made Orpheus an abusive, controlling asshole. I do not approve of that choice because I don’t think it fits at all - at least with my romanticized version of the story. (hide spoiler)] Also, I love Hadestown and MacLaughlin’s version does not jive with Hadestown, so I choose the latter. Now I will say that the story of Eurdyice is focused on Eurdyice and is written well, so it has two things going for it. It’s also important to note that if you do plan to read this book, there is explicit content that includes abuse and sexual assault. It can be hard to read at times. Though I do think MacLaughlin does her best to give victims and survivors in mythology a voice. This book isn’t perfect, but I enjoyed it. I love mythology and ancient cultures. I understand that these stories are based on centuries old classics, but nothing, now matter how classic, is untouchable or too good to be adapted. My opinion is that if you want something to last it’s important to think of new ways to interpret the literature. Do I recommend this one? I understand it’s not for everyone either because of the subject material or the mix of modern and ancient. You may find a story or two you enjoy though! If you like mythology, I’d say give it a go.

  6. 5 out of 5

    April Taylor

    Well written but should probably come with a trigger warning stamped across the cover. It was difficult to get through some of the stories, including the first one. You'll never see the myths that inspired this book the same way again. Of course, the original tales were always filled with sexual assault, rage, and the.degradation of most women. Seeing them in this context made it so much worse, though. The voices within the book change from story to story, ranging from those that are rooted in Well written but should probably come with a trigger warning stamped across the cover. It was difficult to get through some of the stories, including the first one. You'll never see the myths that inspired this book the same way again. Of course, the original tales were always filled with sexual assault, rage, and the.degradation of most women. Seeing them in this context made it so much worse, though. The voices within the book change from story to story, ranging from those that are rooted in the speech of their time period to some filled with modern-day slang. This is an interesting juxtaposition that doesn't always work but still provides an entertaining mixture of styles. Overall, 'Wake, Siren' is an interesting addition to feminist fiction, but don't expect it to be a fun read. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an ARC. This review contains my honest, unbiased opinion.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anya

    I liked the concept, but with some stories I couldn't get into the writing style at all. Sometimes it reads like poetry and other times modern day slang, which was the one which threw me off the most. I like the variety and the darkness. There's lots to discuss and this would be ideal for a book club. Again realizing how gruesome and sexist most of the Greek mythology is. I always wonder why I'm still fascinated by it? Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an eARC.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anna (lion_reads)

    3.5 stars Um, so content warning for everything from rape to incest and other extreme violence...no, really, brace yourselves. I thought this was quite an interesting collection. I remember liking Ovid's Metamorphoses, but if you've read Greek/Roman myths, you know they come with an aftertaste of fucked up. (WHY is Zeus allowed to scamper around the countryside turning into animals and surprising unsuspecting women with sex?) Nina MacLaughlin dials all of that up and brings the stories into the 3.5 stars Um, so content warning for everything from rape to incest and other extreme violence...no, really, brace yourselves. I thought this was quite an interesting collection. I remember liking Ovid's Metamorphoses, but if you've read Greek/Roman myths, you know they come with an aftertaste of fucked up. (WHY is Zeus allowed to scamper around the countryside turning into animals and surprising unsuspecting women with sex?) Nina MacLaughlin dials all of that up and brings the stories into the modern world. I liked MacLaughlin's interpretations of the stories, and the way each story experimented with narrative style — some stories were crass, others contained only one word, and others were told in a solemn but recognizable to the modern ear tone. And each was told from the perspective of the women who feature in the background of the stories about the gods. Some stories were more personally appealing than others, but I didn't feel that there was a great dissonance between the stories as sometimes happens in collections. The stories were all in conversation with each other, they built off of each other and coloured the contexts of the stories around them without creating annoying repetitiveness. Some worked, some didn't, but overall I enjoyed the experience. I have to say that many of the stories here left me deeply uncomfortable. I was even made dizzy by the violence, at times. However, the violence didn't strike me as gratuitous. It was in the realm of possibility for the stories and for the state of the world today. It felt too real. The acts of metamorphosis themselves were violent or sad. In Ovid's version, they are easy to interpret as whimsical, magical and fun, but here they are indisputably acts of necessity, desperation, and helplessness. Here they are a taking of agency, an imposition on a story rather than a making of one. I liked that perspective on Ovid. I find it odd that there are people who denounce modern retellings of old stories, that beg the reader to respect the source text. How is this possible? These myths are products of their time and are equally as flawed as things written today. Why do they deserve more respect? They are not an ideal, even if they did inspire much of Western culture. And what is literature anyway if it doesn't comment on the literature around it? And while we're there: there's plenty to comment on Ovid and the myths. Anyway, an arresting exploration of Ovid's Metamorphoses and one worth trying out if you can stomach it. :) Also: knowledge of Ovid or said myths not necessary!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    This was absolutely fantastic. A retelling of many of the tales from Ovid’s Metamorphoses in a very original and powerful way. I love how some of the stories have a contemporary setting. Not for the squeamish, these tales are brutal in their honesty and I was moved to tears by how beautifully they are told. Highly recommend!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Booky Nooky

    For anyone that enjoys mythology or the novels of Madeline Miller, WAKE, SIREN: OVID RESUNG is perfect for you! It provides a bold, new twist on the classics! The book is a retelling of the famous myths of Ovid's Metamorphoses from the perspectives of the nymphs, demi-goddesses, seductresses, and she-monsters! Whereas Ovid's women are passive objects, in WAKE, SIREN the women are the narrators of their own experiences: the story of the chase comes from the woman fleeing not the God pursuingher For anyone that enjoys mythology or the novels of Madeline Miller, WAKE, SIREN: OVID RESUNG is perfect for you! It provides a bold, new twist on the classics! The book is a retelling of the famous myths of Ovid's Metamorphoses from the perspectives of the nymphs, demi-goddesses, seductresses, and she-monsters! Whereas Ovid's women are passive objects, in WAKE, SIREN the women are the narrators of their own experiences: the story of the chase comes from the woman fleeing not the God pursuing her and the tale of a transformation into a tree or constellation comes directly from the transformed. Such a simple twist breaths new life into classic myths such as Medusa, Scylla, Callisto, Daphne, Echo and many more.  Like a compilation of short stories, each chapter is a separate myth focusing on a different female character. The writing is poetic but often uniquely modern which I really enjoyed. Like any collection of stories, some were stronger than others but overall I was entertained throughout! Though I read Ovid in undergrad and have some familiarity with the stories, you definitely don't need any background to enjoy the book. WAKE, SIREN shows the inherent male chauvinism of Greek mythology (honestly the God's are often just horny, vengeful, conceited creeps!) and the sexist tradition of oral histories. Theses stories have been told and retold by countless men throughout history and it's amazing to finally have a female author take control and give the female characters an actual voice!  *** FSG Originals provided the book for honest review

  11. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Disgusting, trashy, vulgar. I had the worst time getting through this book. I can’t believe my local bookstore gave it so much praise. I love Mythology and this was just a horrible modern day take on it. Read Circe.

  12. 4 out of 5

    E.B.

    Nina!!! You goddamn genius!!!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Moore

    Forget your zodiac sign, which mythology were you obsessed with as a child? For me, it was Greek mythology. I'm not sure what it was-- maybe it was the fact that the gods themselves tended to be directly responsible for all of their own problems. Maybe it was the amount of talking animals. Maybe I just thought the names sounded pretty. But regardless, I loved Greek mythology more than breath. I had that big yellow book of myths, I read children's literature starring the gods (somehow never read Forget your zodiac sign, which mythology were you obsessed with as a child? For me, it was Greek mythology. I'm not sure what it was-- maybe it was the fact that the gods themselves tended to be directly responsible for all of their own problems. Maybe it was the amount of talking animals. Maybe I just thought the names sounded pretty. But regardless, I loved Greek mythology more than breath. I had that big yellow book of myths, I read children's literature starring the gods (somehow never read the Percy Jackson series, a mistake I will one day rectify), I did a report on my "favorite" Greek goddess, Artemis, in the third grade. But even as a child, I couldn't help but notice the voicelessness of the women. The reason I was drawn to Artemis more than any other figure was likely the fact that she was one of the few women with a "speaking" role in her stories. Nobody ever seemed to ask Persephone how she felt about the arrangement with Hades. Nobody asked Atalanta how she felt about losing the race and gaining a husband. Nobody asked Daphne, or Callisto, or Medusa, or countless others how they felt about the fact that they were punished while the men who hurt them got to go on without suffering any consequence. This book gives voice to the voiceless, and the voiceless are furious. And that is important. A warning to readers, this book is a LOT. It's angry and raw and pulls no punches. Unlike so many myth retellings, which use flowery language ("obtained her love" comes to mind) or take modern sensibilities into account to retcon in consent (yes, I love Lore Olympus too, but the critiques are valid ones), Ovid Resung points at every atrocity committed in each respective myth and goes "yeah, that? We all know what that is. We're going to call it what it is. We're going to talk about it." I cried while reading this book. I had to put this book down a few times after certain stories (Procne and Philomela is the roughest imo, but Callisto's brought me to angry tears). And that's important. It's important when discussing the text, and it's important in today's social climate. It's been literal centuries since the story of Medusa was told and people went "yup that sure sounds like a monster we have no sympathy for," but so many things are exactly the same. "But what was Daphne wearing?" "But Zeus just couldn't HELP himself!" "Are we sure Persephone didn't WANT to be kidnapped?" It's not all horrific, of course. Atalanta's story is quietly triumphant as she chooses what's worth winning and what's worth losing. Tiresias gets a wonderful, thought-provoking examination of male and female sexuality. Iphis brought me to happy tears. This book is catharsis of all kinds, please read it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Julie (boogsbooks) Chigbrow

    “And all those gods, all those deathless ones. They never met regret. They don’t fear mistakes because they don’t know consequences. Never guilty, never punished. I showed you all, showed each crime, showed all you criminals. And yet we’re the ones to pay. How’s it work? You murder. You rape. You violate. And it’s us who fall. Why am I the only one to say it? I say the names of all the fallen.” It’s no wonder women have been hunted and degraded, femininity mocked and pitied in a world whose “And all those gods, all those deathless ones. They never met regret. They don’t fear mistakes because they don’t know consequences. Never guilty, never punished. I showed you all, showed each crime, showed all you criminals. And yet we’re the ones to pay. How’s it work? You murder. You rape. You violate. And it’s us who fall. Why am I the only one to say it? I say the names of all the fallen.”⁠ ⁠ It’s no wonder women have been hunted and degraded, femininity mocked and pitied in a world whose oldest legends tell the tales of men taking and keeping what they want. MacLaughlin's collection gives the women of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the poem that centers much of Roman mythology, the chance to flip the table and reclaim their stories.⁠ ⁠ Through the collection, the reader is shifted between stories that feel connected to their mythological roots and others that break into a modern, relatable setting. Each of these women - nymphs, goddesses, and mortals - grapple with the pleasure, fear, desire and need they experience at the hands of men. Too often they are forced into permanence and isolation, being transformed into trees, flowers, birds, and streams, to be free of greedily grazing hands and eyes.⁠ ⁠ “I was no longer the full human self I knew myself to be, who is friends with Linda and Daniel and Quinn, who loved grapes as a kid and hated socks, who drew pictures of castles and tigers, who laughs at rhymes and hates ice and loves milkweed pods. All at once that went away and I was a body and an entrance and a means.”⁠ ⁠ MacLaughlin’s care to inhabit the minds of these characters, trapped in history, ravished by men’s desires and a man’s pen, is an extension of sisterly love. We may not be able to fix what has happened to ourselves or those we love but we can help ensure that their stories are told true and not erased by silence.⁠ ⁠ “Was it punishment, being turned into a woman? I don’t know. Is it punishing to be a woman? It is. It will continue to be.”⁠ ⁠ Favorite stories: Eurydice, Arachne, Echo, Io, Medusa, Myrrha

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    Tiresias: Was it punishment, being turned into a woman? I don’t know. Is it punishing to be a woman? It is. It will continue to be. This collection is a slap in the face… followed by a gut-punch. Rinse. Repeat. Seriously. The hits just keep on coming. It isn’t news that Greco-Roman myths are filled with violence, vengeance and misery. But, reading them in this collection crystallizes this in a way that is brutal and heavy and horrible... But, also really awesome. I know, make up your mind, right? Tiresias: Was it punishment, being turned into a woman? I don’t know. Is it punishing to be a woman? It is. It will continue to be. This collection is a slap in the face… followed by a gut-punch. Rinse. Repeat. Seriously. The hits just keep on coming. It isn’t news that Greco-Roman myths are filled with violence, vengeance and misery. But, reading them in this collection crystallizes this in a way that is brutal and heavy and horrible... But, also really awesome. I know, make up your mind, right? But, I can’t think of a better way to say it. Of the three dozen stories in the collection there are nearly as many rapes, quite a few murders, and only a very rare happy ending (maybe a few more I’d credit as bittersweet). It isn’t a fun read. Instead it is a confrontational read, full of justifiable fury and only occasional moments of anything near hopefulness. That being said, I found much of it beautiful, even when the stories were dark or disgusting and crass, the writing was great. Diverse and compelling. And these stories – be they real or fictional should be read, confronted, honored… They might be about Scylla, Io and a bunch of mythical others, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t ring true for most contemporary readers. The narrative voices are not interchangeable – which is a real feat considering how briefly we meet and interact with each character and how many of them tell a variation on the same ‘I-tried-to-run-from-my-rapist-but-I-did-not-escape’ story. The stories are set historically, as well as in the present day and the writing style varies by story, as such some are more effective than others – and I’m sure that hugely varies by reader. Personally, I wanted to gouge my own eyes out during the stream of consciousness one (though it might have been the only funny on in the book. Bummer). The women in these stories, some are only B-characters in mythology and most of us will know little about them beyond maybe their names – so I’m not sure what new ground, if any, is being tread here in that sense. And, I’m sure if I were a student of mythology I’d have been a better educated reader and that would have added depth to the experience – that’s my loss, I suppose. I assume that reading these stories from the viewpoints of these women is the new ground here and this book does that much stunningly… 3 dozen times. My faves: Daphne, Arachne, Atalanta, Myrrha, Baucis, Medusa, Leucothoe, Eurydice (and After Ovid is an amazing epilogue. A gorgeous ending to the collection). My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the arc to review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ashleigh Spicy Geek

    I received an advanced readers copy of this book through NetGalley in return for my honest feedback. I went into this book thinking I would like it because of the mythology and I absolutely loved it. MacLaughlin is amazing at having a different voice for everyone in each chapter which is a task in itself because there are so many different characters. This isn’t like the old mythology you’re used to, this is updated to be easier to read and relate to and show just how terrible the Gods were to I received an advanced readers copy of this book through NetGalley in return for my honest feedback. I went into this book thinking I would like it because of the mythology and I absolutely loved it. MacLaughlin is amazing at having a different voice for everyone in each chapter which is a task in itself because there are so many different characters. This isn’t like the old mythology you’re used to, this is updated to be easier to read and relate to and show just how terrible the Gods were to mortals (women in particular). I loved how even with the horrible punishments that women went through because of acts done to them that they still were strong and had decent outlooks on things after the fact. I will definitely be buying a physical copy of the book when it comes out to add to my bookshelf and read again.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    This is a very, VERY dark and deep set of points of view of the women who are blamed, shamed, and even hated in many myths. However, McLaughlin brings all of these women and female creatures to the front and lets them use (then drop) the mic to tell their stories. Some of them are exactly how you’d picture them when retold without the obviousness of the jezebel-like portrayal to blame them. Others are moved into a more modern look at not just women but social groups and socioeconomic cultures. This is a very, VERY dark and deep set of points of view of the women who are blamed, shamed, and even hated in many myths. However, McLaughlin brings all of these women and female creatures to the front and lets them use (then drop) the mic to tell their stories. Some of them are exactly how you’d picture them when retold without the obviousness of the jezebel-like portrayal to blame them. Others are moved into a more modern look at not just women but social groups and socioeconomic cultures. However, in my opinion, the best ones are those few that look at those women who have been forgotten after myths. “Hecuba” is one you just can’t read and not feel sad and a little guilty for forgetting previously.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    This is a 3.5 star book for me, but seeing as it's the new year, I figured I'd round up to start. As each is about a different character, the tone, narration, and quality shift between each. At its best, these tales show the fury, grief, flaws, and beauty of female characters from Metamorphoses. However, overall I don't think the modern retellings (few and far between) work as well as those that are historical. Another complaint is that they do get repetitive after a while. There's a lot of This is a 3.5 star book for me, but seeing as it's the new year, I figured I'd round up to start. As each is about a different character, the tone, narration, and quality shift between each. At its best, these tales show the fury, grief, flaws, and beauty of female characters from Metamorphoses. However, overall I don't think the modern retellings (few and far between) work as well as those that are historical. Another complaint is that they do get repetitive after a while. There's a lot of turning into birds and trees in here, as Gods kind of like to reuse their same tricks.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Niki

    sometimes quite tongue-in-cheek, sometimes trashy, but also sometimes quite poetic – i’m a big fan of mythologies, so i was quite amused by this rewriting of Ovid’s Metamorphosis – Since i’m not a purist, i wasn’t shocked at all by this book – i like it when authors take characters of ancient stories and make a new story out of it

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nicole-Anne Keyton

    What a necessary and heavy read. This is a book for anyone who's been waiting for the women in mythology to tell their own stories.

  21. 4 out of 5

    amara ☾

    I've been looking for a book that sheds light on a women's perspective on old myths for so long. If Medusa doesn't get the justice she deserves, I will riot.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    The subversion and modernization of Ovid's myths follows the same pattern; the anger, the betrayal, the loss are palpable in every chapter, in every story, in every account of women's experiences, and make for a grim yet puzzling -as far as the mythological mold is concerned- short story collection. The copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley.

  23. 5 out of 5

    annika burman

    Wake, Siren reestablishes the women in Ovid's Metamorphoses as characters to be remembered. The purpose of this book was incredibly interesting, especially coming from an author whose last book was on carpentry. Clearly, she must have been felt her mission important enough to walk into unknown territory. The result? Pretty successful. Some stories were haunting, beautiful, harrowing, and explorative. Others felt like mere copycats of the highlights. The first half of the stories quickly grew Wake, Siren reestablishes the women in Ovid's Metamorphoses as characters to be remembered. The purpose of this book was incredibly interesting, especially coming from an author whose last book was on carpentry. Clearly, she must have been felt her mission important enough to walk into unknown territory. The result? Pretty successful. Some stories were haunting, beautiful, harrowing, and explorative. Others felt like mere copycats of the highlights. The first half of the stories quickly grew repetitive with story after story of rape. It gets to the point where you start thinking the author is a bit sick, honestly. She said she left out about a dozen of the female characters because some of their stories grew too repetitive, and based on that logic, I'm surprised there weren't more cut. The stories would be more distressing if they weren't so overdone. By the second half of Wake, Siren, the themes grew more interesting and complex. MacLaughlin started branching (*wink wink*) into new, unique female perspectives: motherhood (these were especially enlightening and eloquent), gender, eating disorders/food, and sexual shame (memorable to say the least). However, there was one story, "Salmacis and Hermaphroditus", that I interpreted as a clear story about a teen boy being raped, but the author's tone romanticized it, and I just wanted to throw it out there that the representation of men in this book is deeply pessimistic and hypocritical. I would have preferred a greater variety of characters for both genders. Your gender does not rigidly determine your perspective. The characters should reflect this, especially in a book that focuses so heavily on gender issues. My favorites: - "Daphne" - "Myrrha" - "Alcmena" - "Procne and Philomela" (hard to read) - "Ivory Girl" - "Thetis" - "After Ovid" Even throughout the lackluster stories, the writing was consistently beautiful and eclectic. Fans of feminist literature and literary fiction should try it out. CONTENT WARNINGS: - rape - murder - sex - incest - death - eating disorders - cannibalism (briefly and poetically) - child abuse - torture - goriness Tell me if I forgot anything, because there were a lot of sensitive topics.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Celino

    The idea for Wake, Siren came to Nina MacLaughlin one late winter morning. She had been rereading The Metamorphosis, and found herself entranced with the story of Callisto, a nymph raped by Juno (Zeus) and transformed into a bear, then a constellation (the Big Dipper) by Jove (Hera). Initially MacLaughlin thought rewriting the story from Callisto's perspective would make for a good writing exercise. So pleased with the result she moved on to the story of Daphne. Then another. And another. The The idea for Wake, Siren came to Nina MacLaughlin one late winter morning. She had been rereading The Metamorphosis, and found herself entranced with the story of Callisto, a nymph raped by Juno (Zeus) and transformed into a bear, then a constellation (the Big Dipper) by Jove (Hera). Initially MacLaughlin thought rewriting the story from Callisto's perspective would make for a good writing exercise. So pleased with the result she moved on to the story of Daphne. Then another. And another. The others fell into place naturally. Some of these tales are quite short, one or two pages. Some are more famous than others. Part of my enjoyment of this book was finding myself looking up the actual myths as I went along. Arachne and Medusa are quite well known, but I wasn't familiar with the tales of Dryope or Baucis. Fair warning, there is a lot of graphic sexual assault in these stories, told from the perspective of the victims. Why? Well, reacquaint yourself with those myths we were told as children. It's literally all rape tales. Stories of assault and abuse glossed over by pretty words to disguise what was actually happening. So no, this isn't a book for children, but then again neither are Greco-Roman myths if you think about it. Of the 30+ short stories that comprise Wake, Siren, my favorite is the first MacLaughlin actually wrote - Callisto. There's love and care and rage and grace put into it. Its final paragraph, told in exiled star-form, completely moved me. "There are so many other stars, all of us burning. And I see all the stars around me, and I wonder, Are you the same as me? Is this what we all are? Fires fueled by fury, burning through the nights? Is this why you're up here, and you, and you? No place on earth for a fury so hot and bright? For a roar so loud? I wonder this. I see some blazing brighter and I think: What are you remembering?"

  25. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne

    My thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux/FSG Originals for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Wake, Siren - Ovid Resung’ by Nina MacLaughlin in exchange for an honest review. I love the classical myths and appreciate it when contemporary authors retell them, especially when they respect the source material as Nina MacLaughlin clearly does. In her Author’s Note she outlines her process: “I read a story, reread it, then spent the day listening to the voice in my mind, trying to hear what this woman sounded My thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux/FSG Originals for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Wake, Siren - Ovid Resung’ by Nina MacLaughlin in exchange for an honest review. I love the classical myths and appreciate it when contemporary authors retell them, especially when they respect the source material as Nina MacLaughlin clearly does. In her Author’s Note she outlines her process: “I read a story, reread it, then spent the day listening to the voice in my mind, trying to hear what this woman sounded like, what story she wanted to tell and how.” This process of listening to and honouring these individual voices is something that I approve of given that it acknowledges their sovereignty. It feels almost a spiritual process of acting as a conduit for these ancient voices as the oracles and sibyls of the ancient world did. Her approach is feminist, modern, at times playful while other times savage. The language is explicit in places as well there being scenes that might prove triggering to some readers even after their being in existence for thousands of years. Sometimes moving into contemporary language exposes the ugly nature underlying a number of the myths. As with all short story collections there were a number that I found excellent and others that didn’t move me as much. I do recognise the importance of this work and its power. I expect that reading in a different mood or on another day might well shift my perception of the individual tales. I intend to purchase my own copy after publication and reread at a more leisurely pace alongside the translation of Ovid’s ‘The Metamorphoses’ that Nina MacLaughlin cited as her source. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5.

  26. 5 out of 5

    James Kozubek

    What people are saying about this book is true. It oscillates between breathtaking prose and sections of execrable. You could argue this owes something to the author's ability to move between social strata, or you could opine that it demonstrates some failure at integration. I don't know enough about the author's intents to say which is more true. First, this is not a novel. It is a series of parables or stories, which are recast from a female perspective. My main objection is that there is no What people are saying about this book is true. It oscillates between breathtaking prose and sections of execrable. You could argue this owes something to the author's ability to move between social strata, or you could opine that it demonstrates some failure at integration. I don't know enough about the author's intents to say which is more true. First, this is not a novel. It is a series of parables or stories, which are recast from a female perspective. My main objection is that there is no arc to the book since it is very fragmented. The highpoint for me is the section on Echo, where I see the most mature female voice, which is a woman who realizes the world as imperfect, and yet she finds some ways to cope and persevere in the world. This strikes me as closest to the idea of the "western hero" who sees that there is no right or wrong in the world, and enforces some brand of justice anyway. Other characters I find too pathetic to identify with. In the 2000s, so far we have seen a culture of outrage emerge. One of the questions of the women's liberation movement (and postmodern culture in general) is how do you find some expressions of modern faith? In other words, what happens after outrage? I am not sure that is yet answered here. By the way, I see similar mixture of rage and futility in the writing of David Szalay, whose writing is brilliant but whose characters I often find too pitiful to root for, and whether it is enough for fiction to be descriptive of the world as it actually is, or whether fiction serves a purpose to aspire us to stronger versions of ourselves is another question, which is perhaps too much to impose on this review. Overall, I went to an author reading, and find the author intelligent and willing to engage with people, and it is hard to find too many faults. A lot of the writing is gorgeous, I will admit, as far as characterizations and capturing situations, a remarkable level of poetic achievement.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Laura Mills

    This book is incredible: Nina MacLaughlin somehow takes on the voices of lost women from Greek mythology and makes them feel as real as the women I know in real life. These retellings and reshapings of Ovid's Metamorphoses are brutal in their honestly: this book was very difficult to get through at times because of the subject matter. But that brutality is overlaid with empathy and tenderness, and a little bit of humor. My favorite stories are the ones that bring the myths effortlessly into the This book is incredible: Nina MacLaughlin somehow takes on the voices of lost women from Greek mythology and makes them feel as real as the women I know in real life. These retellings and reshapings of Ovid's Metamorphoses are brutal in their honestly: this book was very difficult to get through at times because of the subject matter. But that brutality is overlaid with empathy and tenderness, and a little bit of humor. My favorite stories are the ones that bring the myths effortlessly into the present day. Stories where the mother of Hercules discusses the struggles of pregnancy, or Agave recounts one of Bacchus's rowdy parties, or Galatea is cyber-stalked by a cyclops. The incredible voices of these women shine through in these stories and I kept reading for them, because they deserve to have their stories told. This book is not for everyone: it will make your heart break and your stomach turn. But if you can handle the hard parts you will be rewarded with writing that sings, writing that surprises, writing that makes you laugh and cry. Nina MacLaughlin can write- and whatever she does from now on, I'll be reading it. Favorite stories: Agave, Tiresias, Scylla, Alcmena, Baucis, Atlanta, Iphis, Sirens, Eurydice

  28. 5 out of 5

    Caoilo

    Wake, Siren is a retelling of Myths. It shows these myths in a new way. Her MacLaughlin hides nothing, glazes over nothing, romanticizes everything but the harsh truth. Though MacLaughlin uses modern English and in a vulgar and crude way. it is exactly what is called for. She tells these myths not in a wool over eyes way they are usually told,. MacLaughlin leaves you in no doubt that you are reading a story about innocence, trust, rape, lies, and vengeance. MacLaughlin could use beautiful prose Wake, Siren is a retelling of Myths. It shows these myths in a new way. Her MacLaughlin hides nothing, glazes over nothing, romanticizes everything but the harsh truth. Though MacLaughlin uses modern English and in a vulgar and crude way. it is exactly what is called for. She tells these myths not in a wool over eyes way they are usually told,. MacLaughlin leaves you in no doubt that you are reading a story about innocence, trust, rape, lies, and vengeance. MacLaughlin could use beautiful prose in one line and cutting vulgarity the next, yet at no time did I feel it was disjointed. Each story had held my attention and shock me awake. This is the title, it was my Siren MacLaughlin wanted to wake and every store stoked the fire in my soul. The stories were not easy to read given their topic but that made them that much more important. I felt, even with the element of magic/power there was a real undercurrent of real life ; the guilty do not always pay, the innocent often suffer, revenge is taken on the wrong person, we can not always control our lives. For me this book raised one question in particular. Why for all this time have these myths been so loved?

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    McLaughlin powerfully imagines Ovid's metamorphoses from the perspective of the (mostly) women at the heart of each tale. By turns lyrical, erotic, funny, these portraits are an exercise in voice, and they attest to the centrality of rape culture to Western literature. It transforms these well-known stories (speaking of metamorphoses!) to give the women subjectivity--to give them desires that deviate from Jupiter's, fear and dread, and traumatic memory that endures even beyond their McLaughlin powerfully imagines Ovid's metamorphoses from the perspective of the (mostly) women at the heart of each tale. By turns lyrical, erotic, funny, these portraits are an exercise in voice, and they attest to the centrality of rape culture to Western literature. It transforms these well-known stories (speaking of metamorphoses!) to give the women subjectivity--to give them desires that deviate from Jupiter's, fear and dread, and traumatic memory that endures even beyond their transformation into cow or tree or reed. The fear about a collection like this is that it would become monotonous, even numbing. Almost all of Ovid's tales, after all, are about a god chasing or tricking a woman who ultimately transforms either to escape or to mourn or because a goddess is angry with her. Yet MacLaughlin takes a different tack with each story, giving some of them a contemporary twist (see Orpheus and Eurydice and domestic violence within the rock community) and always changing her voice to draw out something beautiful, something harrowing, or something bizarre about the stories. She is a writer to watch.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Margo

    (4.5 stars) *trigger warning for mention of sexual violence in review and a general trigger warning for the book in general* I’m incredibly irritated with the reviews critiquing the vulgarity of this book. How it “disrespects” original narratives. I read this book as a reclamation. Rape is vulgar. Much more vulgar than the language Maclaughlin has used here. To give voice to the cast of women in the book the author chose to engage in a level of vulgarity, and justifiably, righteous anger. Parts (4.5 stars) *trigger warning for mention of sexual violence in review and a general trigger warning for the book in general* I’m incredibly irritated with the reviews critiquing the vulgarity of this book. How it “disrespects” original narratives. I read this book as a reclamation. Rape is vulgar. Much more vulgar than the language Maclaughlin has used here. To give voice to the cast of women in the book the author chose to engage in a level of vulgarity, and justifiably, righteous anger. Parts are hard to read. But, she is taking these stories and expressing raw emotion. As a survivor, I appreciate the spectrum of unfiltered emotion. I thought it was inspired and refreshing. It was cathartic and real and relatable for a new generation. All the eye-rolls to the pearl clutching purist. There are so many beautiful passages I re-read and highlighted and revisited. I very much appreciated the bold approach of the author.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.