Title: Stone Blind
Author: Natalie Haynes
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mythology
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: February 7, 2023
A fresh take on the story of Medusa, the original monstered woman.
They will fear you and flee you and call you a monster.
The only mortal in a family of gods, Medusa is the youngest of the Gorgon sisters. Unlike her siblings, Medusa grows older, experiences change, feels weakness. Her mortal lifespan gives her an urgency that her family will never know.
When the sea god Poseidon assaults Medusa in Athene’s temple, the goddess is enraged. Furious by the violation of her sacred space, Athene takes revenge–on the young woman. Punished for Poseidon’s actions, Medusa is forever transformed. Writhing snakes replace her hair and her gaze will turn any living creature to stone. Cursed with the power to destroy all she loves with one look, Medusa condemns herself to a life of solitude.
Until Perseus embarks upon a fateful quest to fetch the head of a Gorgon…
In Stone Blind, classicist and comedian Natalie Haynes turns our understanding of this legendary myth on its head, bringing empathy and nuance to one of the earliest stories in which a woman–injured by a powerful man–is blamed, punished, and monstered for the assault. Delving into the origins of this mythic tale, Haynes revitalizes and reconstructs Medusa’s story with her passion and fierce wit, offering a timely retelling of this classic myth that speaks to us today.
Medusa was the youngest Gorgon sister, and the only mortal one. After Poseidon attacks her in Athene’s temple, Athene takes revenge on Medusa by turning Medusa’s hair into snakes and making her gaze turn anyone who she looks at into stone. Meanwhile, Perseus is the son of Zeus and a mortal woman. When a king threatens to steal Perseus’s mother and marry her, Perseus is given a quest to save his mother by bringing the king the head of a Gorgon. Perseus goes blindly on the quest to get the head of Medusa, the only mortal Gorgon.
Medusa was always portrayed as a villain and monster in Greek mythology. However, this story shows how she was a victim of the Gods. She was attacked by Poseidon, then punished by Athene, who later helped Perseus behead her. Everything that happened to Medusa was done to her, making her a victim, not a monster.
Though this book tells a tragic story, there was also a lot of humor. The humor was often in the banter between the Gods, which usually contradicted each other or made them look silly and petty. This story was focused on the women’s stories. Each chapter was from the perspective of one of the female characters. This was refreshing because history is often through a male lens.
Stone Blind is a fantastic, entertaining story.
Thank you HarperCollins Canada for sending me a copy of this book.
What to read next:
Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes
Have you read Stone Blind? What did you think of it?