This is Percy Jackson for grown-ups. ⚡
Inua Ellams does it again with an outstanding novella about heartache, motherhood and abuse.
I was enamoured from the very first line:
Portrait of Prometheus
as a basketball player.
Every word in this collection was perfectly chosen. Its concise writing style makes for an easy read despite the difficult topics that the author is discussing and this is largely thanks to his ability to craft relatable characters despite some being Minor Gods. I felt the rise and falls of these characters with an amount of emotion I didn't know I felt for them.
Character crafting in poetry can be especially difficult. However, I found it easy to distinguish one character from another because of how different they were. Petty female vs female hatred did not exist in the pages of this novel and considering some of the characters involved and how they are portrayed generally by other writers, I found to be very refreshing. Not only this but the format of this novel- free verse poetry split into books and acts, was something I had never seen for a book like this and very much enjoyed. I think this works very well here due to the influence Greek gods have on the story. The structure can be compared to a classic Greek tragedy and when you realise that it makes rereading the novel and an even better experience (especially as it made me realised that this was more the story of Modupe, Demi's mother before the perspective switched back to her).
This is a diverse multi-generational exploration of sexual assault that should be missed by no one.
⚠Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault, PTSD