Posts tagged ‘Madeline Miller’

April 5, 2022

Galatea – a Short Story by Madeline Miller

by Team Riverside
book cover of Galatea

Hardback, Bloomsbury, £6.99, out now

This is an excellent new short story from the author of Circe and The Song of Achilles.  I’ve not read those yet but I will do now, having read Galatea.

Galatea is being kept a virtual prisoner in hospital on the wishes of her husband, with the complicity of the medical staff.  Her husband, a sculptor, created her out of stone to be his perfect woman: compliant, beautiful, and with no will or wishes of her own.  But Galatea is developing a secret plan for her own freedom, and that of her young daughter Paphos.

The story is Miller’s response to Ovid’s telling of the Pygmalion myth: “…others (myself included) have been disturbed by the deeply misogynist implications of the story.  Pygmalion’s happy ending is only happy if you accept a number of repulsive ideas: that the only good woman is one who has no self beyond pleasing a man, the fetishization of female sexual purity, the connection of ‘snowy’ ivory with perfection, the elevation of male fantasy over female reality”.

Miller offers a sharp take on abuse and control in relationships, and specifically men’s control of, and ideas about, women.  As Galatea says: “The thing is, I don’t think my husband expected me to be able to talk”. 

Accordingly here, some of the content is challenging.  This is appropriate given the subject.  I don’t always find fiction with mythical or fantasy elements convincing, but the ease and confidence with which this is written makes Galatea feel very real.  I felt like Galatea herself was demanding that I witness her struggle, her cleverness, and her courage.

Issued in a beautiful small blue hardback form, it would make a great gift for the right person.  I immediately reread it on finishing and it was even better the second time around.  A vital read.

Review by Bethan

April 18, 2013

Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013

by Andre

Hilary Mantel BRING UP THE BODIESKate Atkinson LIFE AFTER LIFE

A M Homes MAY WE BE FORGIVENBarbara Kingsolver FLIGHT BEHAVIOUR

Zadie Smith NWMaria Semple WHERE'D YOU GO, BERNADETTE

The shortlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction has been announced and we’ve got all this year’s contenders available at the Riverside – including new paperback editions of the novels by A. M. Homes and Barbara Kingsolver. It’s a strong shortlist – both Zadie Smith and Barbara Kingsolver are previous winners – so Hilary Mantel has a fight on her hands if she’s going to do the treble and add this prize to her Man Booker and Costa for Bring Up the Bodies.

If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of this particular prize in what’s become an increasingly crowded market for literary contests, that’s because you probably got used to calling it the Orange Prize for Fiction (the sponsor pulled out last year). We’ve also got previous winners in stock including last year’s The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller and The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht from 2011.