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Publisher's Summary

In The Children of Jocasta, Natalie Haynes retells the Oedipus and Antigone myths to reveal a new side of an ancient story....

My siblings and I have grown up in a cursed house, children of cursed parents....

Jocasta is just 15 when she is told that she must marry the King of Thebes, an old man she has never met. Her life has never been her own, and nor will it be unless she outlives her strange, absent husband.

Ismene is the same age when she is attacked in the palace she calls home. Since the day of her parents' tragic deaths a decade earlier, she has always longed to feel safe with the family she still has. But with a single act of violence, all that is about to change.

With the turn of these two events, a tragedy is set in motion. But not as you know it.

©2018 Natalie Haynes (P)2018 Macmillan Digital Audio

What listeners say about The Children of Jocasta

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I couldn't stop listening

I have enjoyed Natalie Haynes radio work, but this book was way beyond expectations. If you like myths and how myths change with the telling and the teller, this book is for you. If you don't like myths, listen anyway - so much drama but so delicately written.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-09-18

So many twists and turns!

I listened to this book after finishing “The silence of the girls” and loving it so much I wanted something similar.
I’m not very knowledgeable about history so was surprised I fell so in love with this genre of book.
The book is told from two points of view and I enjoyed Jocasta’s chapters right from the start, Ismene’s chapters took a while for me to warm up to but they eventually became just as thrilling as Jocasta’s. Such a great story, I didn’t want it to end.
This is also the second book I’ve listened to that has been narrated by Kristen Atherton and I think that is part of the appeal of the story for me, she has a beautiful voice and is a very skilled story teller.

9 people found this helpful

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  • anita wong
  • 05-21-19

Clever story, brilliant performance

Amazing rewrite of the classic Greek tragedy story of the house of Oedipus. Although it removes all the supernatural aspects, the story isn't any less enticing. in fact, it makes the story more believable, more relevant to us. The performance of Kristin was first class. I don't think I've ever heard any story as well read as her performance. well done.

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  • Adanaya
  • 06-24-21

lost count of how many times Ive listened

This is such a wonderful book by an extraordinarily excellent writer with a brilliant narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Herbi Williams
  • 05-25-21

gripping history

loved this retelling of a tragedy, read it in record time. good plot and believable characters

1 person found this helpful

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  • Taralouise
  • 10-18-20

Fabulous compelling story

This is a really clever and imaginative retelling of the Oedipus myth, through the eyes of both his wife Jocasta and his four children. It is brilliantly reimagined and has some very clever twists and turns to offer new insights and new perspectives on a story that will be very familiar for many of the people drawn to this audiobook. I listened to it virtually non-stop: it is that intense and exciting, and it is highly recommended along with Natalie Haynes' other books. She is truly one of the best authors who brings a kind of contemporary, feminist orientation to classical mythology. Finally, Kristin Atherton is a brilliant reader.who really brings this text, and it’s colourful characters, back to life. This production of The Children of Jocasta is a great accomplishment by both women.

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  • Klara
  • 06-03-20

Chicklit with educational ambition?

I bought this book hoping for something as well-written and absorbing as "Song of Achilles" and "The Silence of the Girls". Perhaps because this novel couldn't stand the comparison (not by far) I was disappointed and stopped listening. The author ovbiously knows a lot about her subject and you get a vivid picture of ancient Thebes, but you never get close to the main characters, Ismene and Jocasta. They seem to be there mainly to make the story itself move forward. The novel reminds me of chicklit - not bad but nothing to thoroughly enjoy.

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  • S
  • 11-16-21

Everything Natalie Haynes writes is amazing.

A completely different version of the story. So interesting to see things from Jocasta's point of view and that of her children. Everything Natalie Haynes writes is amazing.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-18-21

Decent overall listen

A decent listen. Story is good, but I found it a little trite (putting it kindly) that the servants and people of Thebes had to have "northern" accents in contrast with the royal family's southern...

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  • jnowlrose
  • 08-24-21

Fantastic book

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and afterword by Natalie Haynes. It is brilliantly well narrated and had me hooked from the start.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-20-21

What a fabulous Reinterpretation!

I don’t have enough Superlatives for how much I enjoyed this book and how wonderful I think it is! Brilliant reinterpretation of the Oedipus myth, and thought-provoking particularly in this current time. Natalie Haynes is truly a wonderful storyteller and amazing classicist, Who really does make the ancient subject matter accessible to all.

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  • Kat
  • 10-12-21

Great retelling

Excellent read! Well worth listening to. Strong female characters and an interesting take on a very famous story.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-29-21

Haynes never misses

This book was everything I hoped for. Natalie Haynes knows her audience well and knows how to brilliantly unravel the story to keep you hanging on her every word. The narration was beautiful as well. Such a delight to listen to this masterpiece with Kristen Atherton’s lovely narration. If you want a masterclass in Greek mythology retellings, Natalie Haynes is always the way to go.

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  • noddy
  • 08-26-21

Can’t return

Of course i did only do one chapter and skimmed others to realise it wasn't getting better for my tastes. But not to say others more academic wouldn’t be able to sit thru it. Just repetitive.
Want a refund! Says st the start of membership you can return if you don’t want to read it. Apparently NOT.

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  • S. Seeney
  • 12-17-20

a superb retelling.

The Greek plays have always been something I enjoyed. so few have survived and so many story threads have been lost it is lovely to find a retelling that melds so many ideas together. This was such an enthralling story. For once not knowing Antigone and Ismene fate was good. It was like meeting an old friend who's stories you love but have heard before and you discover they have gone on new adventures and have new tales.