Soho Press, Hardcover, 9781569476178, 304pp.
Publication Date: February 1, 2010
In Greek myth, Alcestis is known as the ideal wife; she loved her husband so much that she died and went to the underworld in his place. In this vividly-imagined debut, Katharine Beutner gives voice to the woman behind the ideal and reveals the part of the story that’s never been told: What happened to Alcestis in the three days she spent in the underworld?
Katharine Beutner grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She earned a BA in classical studies from Smith College in 2003 and an MA in creative writing from the University of Texas at Austin, where she is currently a PhD student in eighteenth-century British literature.
“[A]n engaging, subversive reimagining of the tale of the eponymous Greek heroine who is upheld as a shining example of the dutiful wife for her selfless sacrifice. Katharine Buetner’s Alcestis is a far more willful heroine, and her encounters with the gods of the underworld resonate with a genuine sense of the numinous.”—Jacqueline Carey, Namaah’s Kiss and Kushiel’s Dart
“Beutner renders her multilayered heroine with beauty and delicacy, and concerns herself with no less than the intricacies of the soul.”—Publishers Weekly
“Everyday life in the ancient world, a no-escape-clause afterlife in the underworld, vulnerable mortals, and passionate and tormented gods—all are imagined with intense actuality in a novel that is as intoxicating and hypnotic as the sacred smoke inhaled by the oracles.”—Elizabeth Knox, The Vintner’s Luck
“Beutner spices up this classic tale with a decidedly Sapphic flavor.”—Booklist