Some recent retellings of Greek myths have sought to restore the female voice that the original sources – and some other modern retellings – have neglected or deliberately devalued. But Pomegranates does not quite fit with Pat Barker’s take on the Iliad, The Silence of the Girls, nor with Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad or Madeline Miller’s Circe – not because it is a lesser work, but because it is doing something slightly different. In its fearless, energetic combination of myth and reality it recalls Steven Sherrill’s The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break, and like that book it is infused with sadness and wry humour (a brief appearance by a preening Hermes is very funny). But it seeks to cut through the sanitised versions of these myths and, peeling away those layers, finds horror and rage and hope, much like the stories in Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber. There are also hints that the three narrative strands are even more closely linked than they appear: as in Neil Gaiman’s The Kindly Ones, it may be that whether something is myth or reality is a matter of perception. Also, as in that work, the key unifying note here is grief: grief for a lost child, for a lost mother (Bear’s mother, also a Dr. Ursa), and for a lost world.Alex Glass reviews Pomegranates for Interzone Digital
Thanks to Alex Glass for his review of Pomegranates. You can read the full review here.