I started off this year with a book on one of my favourite epics – the Iliad. I picked up ‘Helen of Troy’ by Margaret George by chance when I was scrounging my favourite book-store for some other book. Helen of Troy is the narrator and through her eyes we see what it is to be the daughter of a God, the wife of a king, the lover of an out-caste and the prize of antiquity’s bloodiest war.
It is a tale of passion, guilt, regret, and vengeance. It is also about whether the Gods really give us boons to change the course of nature or they merely play with us to aid nature. Through Helen, Margaret George explores whether the future is predestined or whether we are masters of our own fate. Omens, boon, wishes, premonitions, miracles, and prophesies.
The characters are all well shaped especially Clytemnestra, Agamemnon, Menelaus and Paris. The ravage of war resounds the wars of the current times. The narrative is compelling and there’s not a single description of the ‘face that launched a thousand ships’.
At the heart of the book is a mortal Helen who is being tossed around like a ship lost at sea just like most of us feel when we reflect on our life.