An inventive and engaging short story that looks at ancient history through the lens of our modern love of spectacle — in this case a television talk show. In A Goddess’ Curse, author Luciana Cavallaro (@ClucianaLuciana) has once again found an interesting way to re-examine characters from classic literature, in this case Hera, the most powerful goddess on Mount Olympus.
As Ms. Cavallaro did with the conversations between Helen and the historian in The Curse of Troy (my review), the concept of being on the talk show of host Drake Dabbler allows Hera to both explain and defend her actions, which earned her a reputation as vengeful and extremely jealous. The story moves quickly with the high points of Hera’s life touched on in her often contentious banter with Dabbler, but those unfamiliar with the mythology will still enjoy the ride and likely will end up with the urge to delve deeper into Hera’s life.
In fact, this would make an excellent addition to a high-school literature class, with the very modern elements serving to whet the appetite to learn more of the historical record.
There is a bit of a twist at the end, which savvy readers may sense is coming. For my part, a college class decades ago taught me it is unwise to get too comfortable when dealing with Greek gods and goddesses.
More years ago than I care to remember, I attended Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. I didn’t graduate from the small, private, horrendously-expensive-even-then, liberal-arts college — not even close. But I did manage to take a world literature class taught by Dorothy Parkander, who, to me, will forever be the perfect model of an English professor: smart, articulate, biting in the face of foolishness but warm and nurturing to a fault when helping students realize the wonders of the word.
As one of the 40,000 students she taught at the college once said: “to attend Augustana sans a Dorothy Parkander course is to eat a meal without an entree or stay only for a play’s intermission.” An unfocused underachiever during my first go-round at higher education, I consider the B+ received from Professor Parkander in that class, in which we studied Homer’s Odyssey, among my top academic achievements.
While reading A Goddess’ Curse, I believe on more than one occasion I heard echoes of Professor Parkander as she described the meaning of “hubris.” 🙂