in reading "The Laughter of Aphrodite", i was very pleasantly surprised. generally, i am not a fan of fiction. given how difficult it is for a great many people to accept irrefutable fact, i find it somewhat alarming that an author would intentionally write an entire work of fiction.
but, because i have found several of the classical historian Peter Green's other works to be so worthwhile, and because Plato called Sappho the 10th Muse, i decided to give "The Laughter of Aphrodite" a read.
i am very glad i did. to begin with, Green is an accomplished storyteller. he seamlessly weaves the political and cultural history of the island of Lesbos in the early 7th century BCE with an imaginative construction of Sappho's life from what survives of her poems, and what the ancients themselves wrote about her. and, though i am usually impatient with descriptive detail, i was enchanted by Green's 'proetic' evocations of sights, sounds, and scents ranging from articles in Sappho's bedroom to the Lesbian landscape.
further, i've never read a more convincing account of the emotional relationships between a woman and her relatives, friends, lovers, and adversaries.
further yet, i've never read the equal of Green's account of the internal life an artist.
oh, and as a bonus for the fictive-phobic (such as myself), in the back of this volume there is a chronology that indicates which elements are believed to be historical fact, which are reasonable conjectures, and which are the creative interpolations of the author.
so far, i have gotten 4 friends to (gratefully) read this book.