Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung
“Vital, vivid, and angry.”
― Kirkus, starred review
“More than thirty women from Ovid’s Metamorphoses . . . reclaim their stories in this stirring collection of vignettes . . . Above all, they both suffer and find strength at the hands of lascivious men and wrathful gods.”
― The New Yorker
Drawing on the rhythms of epic poetry and alt rock, of everyday speech and folk song, of fireside whisperings and therapy sessions, Nina MacLaughlin, the acclaimed author of Hammer Head, recovers what is lost when the stories of women are told and translated by men. She breathes new life into these fraught and well-loved myths.
Seductresses and she-monsters, nymphs and demi-goddesses, populate the famous myths of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. But what happens when the story of the chase comes in the voice of the woman fleeing her rape? When the beloved coolly returns the seducer’s gaze? When tales of monstrous transfiguration are sung by those transformed? In voices both mythic and modern, Wake, Siren revisits each account of love, loss, rape, revenge, and change. It lays bare the violence that undergirds and lurks in the heart of Ovid’s narratives, stories that helped build and perpetuate the distorted portrayal of women across centuries of art and literature.
Nina MacLaughlin is the author of Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung (FSG/FSG Originals), a re-telling of Ovid’s Metamorphoses told from the perspective of the female figures transformed, as well as Summer Solstice: An Essay (Black Sparrow). Her first book was the acclaimed memoir Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter (W.W. Norton). Formerly an editor at the Boston Phoenix, she worked for nine years as a carpenter, and is now a books columnist for the Boston Globe. Her work has appeared on or in The Paris Review Daily, The Virginia Quarterly Review, n+1, The Believer, The New York Times Book Review, Agni, American Short Fiction, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Wall Street Journal, Meatpaper, and elsewhere. She carves spoons and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.