It seems that Medusa is settled upon her island. Although it is a place of banishment where she must wile away each day while her immortal sisters toil in the heavens, Medusa is safe from mankind.

However, what if somebody interrupts her solitude? Then again, what if this is a beautiful youth who offers word of outside, news, stories of the gods and then of his mother and Athena… Furthermore, what if she trusts him so that she might risk everything?

Jessie Burton’s retelling of the classic tale is outstanding. Then again, Olivia Lomenech Gill’s illustrations are furious, empathetic and rich with Medusa’s longing and bitterness. We recommend Medusa: The Girl Behind the Myth for every home and school.

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The Girl Behind the Myth

Jessie Burton, illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill

(Bloomsbury)- hardback

Medusa has found safety in the secluded island to which she’s been banished by Athena. It seems to offer her seclusion from the confusion of daily life and the gaze and judgment of mortals and gods. However everything changes when a young sailor moors his boat upon the island. Who is he? What’s more, what does he want?
Thereafter, Medusa’s curiosity overwhelms her so that she risks making his acquaintance, while keeping her face hidden. However his attractiongrows so that she risks and reveals more and more. Meanwhile, he unburdens himself of his plight. It seems he’s been set a quest in order to release his mother, Danaë from the intentions of Polydectes. However what is this quest? What’s more, how does it connect to ‘Merina’? Furthermore, will Medusa’s growing feeling for this young man build beyond her need for self preservation, and her sisters’ warnings, that she risks revealing her physical presence to him?
It seems as though Jessie Burton entangles us like writhing serpents in this captivating retelling of the classic myth.   What’s more, her storytelling is elevated even further by Olivia Lomenech Gill’s luscious, emotional painted illustrations. These are so sympathetic in their form and colouring and perspective.
Bookwagon loves and recommends Medusa highly. Like Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black, this is an ideal book to read, know, cherish and gift.


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