Medusa by Jessie Burton, ill. Olivia Lomenech Gill

Medusa by Jessie Burton, ill. Olivia Lomenech Gill

My book review of Medusa, written by Jessie Burton (author of The Miniaturist, The Muse and The Confession for adults and The Restless Girls (illustrated by Angela Barrett) for children, illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill, published Bloomsbury is in Magpies magazine now – November 2021

Medusa is a feminist retelling of the Ancient Greek myth about the young woman who is cursed by the goddess Athena. Her hair is transformed into writhing snakes and she is banished to a remote island. Young man and hero, Perseus, reaches the island and a double case of unknown or mistaken identity allows an attraction to develop between him and Medusa. As we know, any relationship between Medusa and Perseus will not end well …

Classically written with a contemporary feel, it is a strong expose of how women, particularly young women, can be exploited.

Image from Medusa by Olivia Lomenech Gill

Quote from my review in Magpies: “We learn of the sometimes-destructive impact of the male gaze and male desire and power over inexperienced, vulnerable women that, in this story, culminates in Medusa’s violation by the god Poseidon. To prolong her sorrows, she is derided and rejected by her people who blame – not the stalker and rapist – but Medusa for being young and beautiful. The tale is damming of men, and society…

This new Medusa calls for acknowledgement of male transgression, community blindness and culpability and vindication of wronged women.”

Image from Medusa by Olivia Lomenech Gill

It is a classic tale that is also of our time.

Introduction to the book

More about the stunning illustrations

Medusa at Bloomsbury

Jessie Burton’s website

Olivia Lomenech Gill’s website

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