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Book 23: I, Antigone by Carlo Gébler

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

The mythical Greek king, Oedipus, is no stranger to tragedy. As a baby, he is left to die on the mountainside of Thebes by his royal parents after the Oracle of Delphi prophesies that he will kill his father and marry his mother. Pitied by the shepherd tasked with leaving him, Oedipus is given to another royal family and grows up ignorant of his past as a foreign prince.

Returning to Thebes by chance many years later, he defeats the Sphinx terrorising the city by answering her riddle and becomes king. From here on a series of tragic events begin to unfurl...

Many years later, his daughter Antigone takes on the role of biographer and is determined to set the record straight about her father's life and death.

In a beautiful retelling of the popular myth, Antigone meditates on the illusion of free will, the power of fate, and her powerful family's demise. An astonishing contribution to the reclaimed classics, "I, Antigone" is perfect for fans of Madeleine Miller, Jennifer Saint and Elodie Harper.

* this book is unavailable on bookshop.org.

beautifully disappointing

as I was browsing the audiobooks on netgalley, this title caught my eye. I remembered loving "oedipus rex" and "Antigone" when I was in high school and college so I was very excited when I realized my request through netgalley was approved.

I want to start by saying this book is so beautifully written and I have made several bookmarks in the audio version that I am slightly inclined to purchase a physical copy of the book for when I have the space to build out my dream library. there are passages in this book that made me gasp at the imagery with which It was written and there were several passages that I know can stay with me forever.

what made this book a disappointment for me had a lot to do with the expectations I had coming into this novel. I was under the impression that this book would be a retelling of oedipus rex and Antigone. the book is told by Antigone who is chronicling her lineage and trying to make sense of how she came to be. It briefly starts with the story of europa, then moves to jocasta and Laius, oedipus, and finally antigone. it made sense to me that the story progressed in this way. in order to fully understand why oedipus became oedipus, you need to understand where he came from and the context he was borne of. the book was so well done but it fell short of Antigone's story. In this, I find the title to be misleading. antigone is simply a narrator and a product of the story; she is not the heart of it as oedipus is. if there had been more context to her life at the end, I think it would have been more fulfilling for me instead of the throwaway chapter which summarizes, rather briefly, her plotline.

ultimately, I wanted more; and, if I could not have it, I wanted it to be clear that this is a story of her lineage and not of just her. so, regardless of how beautiful the prose, this book did not give me the satisfaction I craved.

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