Ariadne is the story about a righteous man. No. It’s about many righteous men. It’s about how in the wake of these righteous men and heroes it is the women who suffer the consequences silently. It is also a story which brings to light the many women who have either been sidelined or have been displayed as souvenirs of their victories.
Scylla. Medusa. Pasiphae. Semele. Phaedra. Ariadne. All of them, the victims who paid the price for another’s crime – Minos, Poseidon, Theseus, Zeus, Dionysus.
The story is about Ariadne and her sister Phaedra, the princesses of Crete, why the title is solely named Ariadne is unclear to me because the narrative switches back and forth between both sisters. Saint writes about both sisters who go through almost similar experiences but have different reactions to them.
Both sisters help a hero, one is left on an desolate island while the other gets to marry him. Both were momentarily freed from a prison to only end up in another one.
Both sisters have husbands who travel and are mostly away. While one dreads those days, the other is joyous and grateful.
Both sisters go through pregnancy and while one cannot help but adore her children, the other is most detached from the feelings of motherhood.
Ariadne was written to give a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths but I feel that is exactly where it fell flat. In the retelling I had hoped to read something powerful. I had hoped to read a story where the women emerge victorious but it seems that the only theme captured through this story was of hopelessness.
Ariadne delivers, it delivers the truth which universally exists but unfortunately what it doesn’t deliver is hope. After having read Circe I felt strong, Circe reminded me to be the heroine of my own life whereas on the other hand Ariadne makes me feel powerless and pitiful.
Please don’t let my opinion of how I wanted this story to turnout desuade you from reading it for yourself but I hope in another world Ariadne and Phaedra would find the strength to let go of God’s and heroes who live in an echo chamber of their own names.
I’d like to thank Hachette India for the beautiful review copy and I’s like to congratulate the author on her debut novel!