Saturday 31 December 2016

 Antigone by Ali Smith
This beautiful book, with its gorgeous illustrations by Laura Paoletti, is part of the ‘Save the Story’ series produced by Pushkin Press. Their aim is to “save great stories from oblivion by retelling them for a new, younger generation.” The stories are rewritten by well-known contemporary authors. Ali Smith tells this tale beautifully. This Greek myth has all the classic attributes – death, love, tragedy and loyalty – as well as a misguided ruler, a shape-shifter and a wise crow. Antigone is distraught because her brothers have died, stabbing each other simultaneously on the battlefield, dramatically warring with each other over the kingdom. While one is allowed a hero’s death, while the other is decreed a traitor. Antigone, loyal to both, goes against the rule of her uncle and gives her outcast brother a proper burial. Her punishment is to be killed. Her uncle, under pressure from his people, reneges a little, toning down his punishment to captivity in a sealed cave. Well, the end, to say the least, is tragic, and no one will be happy, but Antigone is our brave and loyal heroine to the end.


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