posted by [identity profile] lalaithlockhart.livejournal.com at 04:43am on 07/08/2011
Sorry for not replying above - your comment was so impressive that I realized I didn't have anything useful to add! But The King Must Die at least, has stuck with me ever since you recommended it - and a lot of what I remember about it has to do with the main character, and with the presentation of - as you say - a very alien but naturalized culture, and with the interweaving of half-remembered Theseus myths with a possible history that - at the time - was very eye-opening. I felt like I was learning about real (or at least, realistic) cultures in ancient Greece and Crete; I also remember the arresting way she balanced myth and realism both in her storytelling and in the imagined ethos of those cultures. Theseus seems not really to be the son of Poseidon, but I held it out as a possibility for quite a while, and Theseus seems to have as well.

To what extent do you think these stories are a product of their time (late 50's early 60's)? Is the sense of alienness/familiarity/similarity you get reading because the books are mirroring their modern time, or because they simultaneously discovered the idea that in the ancient world people had different values, and went in similar directions? I'm not sure if that question makes sense.

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