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Alcestis

Alcestis Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"A novel that is as intoxicating and hypnotic as the sacred smoke inhaled by the oracles."--Elizabeth Knox, author of The Vintner's Luck and The Dreamhunter Duet.

"An engaging, subversive reimagining of the tale of the eponymous Greek heroine who is upheld as a shining example of the dutiful wife for her selfless sacrifice."--Jacqueline Carey, author of Kushiel's Mercy

In Greek mythology, Alcestis is known as the good wife; she loved her husband so much that she died to save his life and was sent to the underworld in his place. In this poetic and vividly imagined debut, Katharine Beutner gives voice to the woman behind the ideal, bringing to life the world of Mycenaean Greece, a world peopled by capricious gods, where royal women are confined to the palace grounds and passed as possessions from father to husband.

Alcestis tells of a childhood spent with her sisters in the bedchamber where her mother died giving birth to her and of her marriage at the age of fifteen to Admetus, the young king of Pherae, a man she barely knows, who is kind but whose heart belongs to a god. She also tells the part of the story that’s never been told: What happened to Alcestis in the three days she spent in the underworld before being rescued by Heracles? In the realm of the dead, Alcestis falls in love with the goddess Persephone and discovers the true horror and beauty of death.

Katharine Beutner grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She earned a BA in classical studies from Smith College in 2003, and she recently completed an MA in creative writing at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is currently a PhD student in eighteenth-century British literature. Her work has appeared in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. Alcestis is her first novel.

Review:

"Beutner's debut tackles the Greek myth of Alcestis, who so loved her husband that she sacrificed herself to Hermes in his place. Beutner's retelling, set in ancient Greece, involves a more complex character: her Alcestis is a misfit who has deeply mourned the loss of her sister Hippothoe since childhood. Through Alcestis's eyes, Beutner provides a cagey look at men and gods, driving her narrative into the Underworld after Alcestis's husband, Admetus, proves so afraid of facing his own death that he demands a replacement. Alcestis goes instead, not for romance or martyrdom, but to find her dead sister. While hunting the land of the dead, Alcestis sheds the 'good girl' identity she's begrudgingly worn her whole life and finds her fate tied to those of Persephone and Hades; eventually, she learns much about gods and men (especially from stubborn, simple Heracles). Beutner renders her multilayered heroine with beauty and delicacy, and concerns herself with no less than the intricacies of the soul; unfortunately, an abrupt ending sucks the wind out of Beutner's sails." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

A vivid reimagining of a classical Greek myth.

Synopsis:

A debut that is as intoxicating and hypnotic as the sacred smoke inhaled by the oracles (Elizabeth Knox, author of "The Vintner's Luck"). In Greek mythology, Alcestis is known as the good wife--she died to save her husband and was sent to the underworld in his place. Beutner gives voice to the woman behind the ideal.

Synopsis:

In Greek myth, Alcestis is known as the ideal wife; she loved her husband so much that she died and went to the underworld in his place. In this vividly-imagined debut, Katharine Beutner gives voice to the woman behind the ideal and reveals the part of the story that’s never been told: What happened to Alcestis in the three days she spent in the underworld?

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Katharine Beutner grew up in Lancaster, PA. She has a BA in Classical Studies from Smith College, and she recently completed an M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is currently a PhD student in eighteenth-century British literature. Her work has appeared in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet. Alcestis is her first novel.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781569476178
Publisher:
Soho Press
Subject:
Literary
Author:
Beutner, Katharine
Subject:
Fantasy - Historical
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Mythology, Greek
Subject:
Science Fiction and Fantasy-Fantasy-Historical
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20100231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.68 x 5.8 x 1.06 in 1 lb

Related Subjects

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Alcestis
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Product details 304 pages Soho Press - English 9781569476178 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Beutner's debut tackles the Greek myth of Alcestis, who so loved her husband that she sacrificed herself to Hermes in his place. Beutner's retelling, set in ancient Greece, involves a more complex character: her Alcestis is a misfit who has deeply mourned the loss of her sister Hippothoe since childhood. Through Alcestis's eyes, Beutner provides a cagey look at men and gods, driving her narrative into the Underworld after Alcestis's husband, Admetus, proves so afraid of facing his own death that he demands a replacement. Alcestis goes instead, not for romance or martyrdom, but to find her dead sister. While hunting the land of the dead, Alcestis sheds the 'good girl' identity she's begrudgingly worn her whole life and finds her fate tied to those of Persephone and Hades; eventually, she learns much about gods and men (especially from stubborn, simple Heracles). Beutner renders her multilayered heroine with beauty and delicacy, and concerns herself with no less than the intricacies of the soul; unfortunately, an abrupt ending sucks the wind out of Beutner's sails." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
A vivid reimagining of a classical Greek myth.
"Synopsis" by , A debut that is as intoxicating and hypnotic as the sacred smoke inhaled by the oracles (Elizabeth Knox, author of "The Vintner's Luck"). In Greek mythology, Alcestis is known as the good wife--she died to save her husband and was sent to the underworld in his place. Beutner gives voice to the woman behind the ideal.
"Synopsis" by , In Greek myth, Alcestis is known as the ideal wife; she loved her husband so much that she died and went to the underworld in his place. In this vividly-imagined debut, Katharine Beutner gives voice to the woman behind the ideal and reveals the part of the story that’s never been told: What happened to Alcestis in the three days she spent in the underworld?

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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