Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Like Mayflies in a Stream


I just finished reading Like Mayflies in a Stream by Shauna Roberts and I can highly recommend it. “Mayflies” is a retelling of certain aspects of the Gilgamesh legend, but it’s told primarily from the point of view of the woman named Shamhat, who is a priestess of the goddess Inanna and the mother of one of Gilgamesh’s many children. Shamhat is a very realistic character and very sympathetic throughout the book as she strives to obey what she sees as the will of her goddess. That often means putting her own wishes second, and it means putting her life repeatedly in danger.

“Mayflies” is a hard book to categorize. I suppose it would generally be considered a historical novel, and Roberts certainly did her homework on ancient Mesopotamia, as her “resources” section indicates. However, as she also indicates, not a lot is known about the time of Gilgamesh and she had to intersperse what she could find out about that age with information gleaned from later periods for which we have better records. In that sense, perhaps “speculative historical” might be apropos as a descriptor for the book. There is also a strong feeling of fantasy/mythology about the work as well, so it has many elements.

However you describe the book, though, it is a fascinating read. I really found myself caught up in Shamhat’s struggles and I much enjoyed the background detail that brought the ancient world to life. Through the last half of the book, in particular, I didn’t want to put it down. I read most of the last half at one sitting. And Roberts’ passion for the story and the characters came through clearly. If you’re interested you can find Like Mayflies in a Stream on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.
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22 comments:

Barrie said...

I love your book reviews!

the walking man said...

Congratulations Shauna. Good review Charles.

Greg Schwartz said...

thanks for the review... it sounds like an interesting book.

Charles Gramlich said...

Barrie, thankee. I read a lot of good books.

Mark, yes, she turned out a very fine book.

Greg, it certainly was.

cs harris said...

I've been meaning to get this. I would have bought it anyway, for Shauna's sake, but the research I've been doing for my latest book has stirred a new interest in this period.

Steve Malley said...

GoooOOOOOOOO SHAUNA!!! :D

laughingwolf said...

way to go, shauna... and thx for the great review, charles

SzélsőFa said...

Your review made it sound interesting. Congratulations to Shauna.
I don't mind the genre at all - a good book is a good book, period.

Demon Hunter said...

Sounds like an interesting read. Plus, I've seen Shauna around the blogoshpere for years, so I'll pick it up. :-D

Charles Gramlich said...

Candy, it's definitely a good read, with some great detail.

Steve Malley, indeed!

laughingwolf, good book.

SzélsőFa, yeah, I don't pay much attention to genre either. I read just about everything.

Demon Hunter, she's got a great blog as well.

ivan said...

Shauna's book sounds bold and wonderful.

Myself, always of a prurient turn of mind was sort of intrigued in the origianal clay tablet version of the epic to find the ''wild man'' Enkidu gettin his first introduction to women though a courtesan. Not so wild after a good lay. Sort of settles you down, said old Gilgemesh.

Cloudia said...

Nice review, Charles




Aloha, Friend!


Comfort Spiral

Vesper said...

Thank you for the review. Ancient history is one of my favourites.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ivan, her story follows the basic outline of the epic, but revises some of the details. The Courtesan is more of a temple priestess but there is some sex.

Cloudia, thanks.

Vesper, I agree. Ancient history is far more entertaining than modern history to me.

Travis said...

I did a quick read of some basic information about Gilgamesh. I know the name but I'm not all that familiar with him. It sounds like an interesting period in which to set a story.

Thanks for the recommendation!

Charles Gramlich said...

Travis, yes, I read the epic of gilgamesh years ago but didn't remember a lot of it.

Lana Gramlich said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed it, baby.

Barbara Martin said...

Excellent review, Charles.

Miladysa said...

Sounds like an interesting read.

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana, you sweet.

Barbara, it was enjoyable.

Miladysa, an interesting mix of fantasy and historical material.

Shauna Roberts said...

CHARLES, I appreciate your reviewing my book on your blog. How fun to see the book through your eyes.

Thanks, WALKING MAN, STEVE MALLEY, LAUGHINGWOLF,and SZÉLSÖFA for your congratulations.

DEMON HUNTER, thanks for buying my book. I hope you enjoy it.

Charles Gramlich said...

Shauna, I enjoyed it muchly.