GREEK MYTHS AREN’T ALL ANCIENT HISTORY
Why do the Greek classics continue to fascinate us? Writer Carlo Gébler says it’s because we live in a world “in churn” – people have lost trust in institutions and governments.
Consequently, many fiction writers, from Colm Tóibín to Pat Barker to Catherine Dunne, have revisited the Greek myths for the certainty they offer – merciless though it is.
And Carlo is no exception. His latest novel I Antigone is a retelling of the Sophocles tragedy. Set in the seventh century BC, it speaks in the voice of Antigone, who is both daughter and sister to King Oedipus – telling her father’s biography to set the record straight.
Famously, Oedipus killed his father and married his mother, and Carlo sets out to humanise the myth, taking the starting point that Oedipus is unable to escape his fate.
In the latest City of Books podcast for Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, he tells host Martina Devlin that he chose Antigone as his narrator because she has “skin in the game”.
“The tabloid version is her father is bad, but she’s giving something more nuanced. She is absolutely adamant that she’s going to say yes but it’s more complicated than that.”
He says the story remains compelling thousands of years later because it is a family tragedy.
Carlo has previous experience of adapting classics for a modern audience, including a retelling of Aesop’s Fables and Boccaccio’s The Decameron.
More here on I, Antigone by Carlo Gébler published by New Island: https://www.newisland.ie/fiction/i-antigone