Helen of Troy: the mythological heroine whose tale has always been told by men speaks up and reveals the story of her life.
A reflection on what it is to carry the burden of beauty for a woman, in the past as well as in the present day.
Helen, the daughter of Zeus and Leda, born from a swan’s egg, is the most beautiful woman in the world, the most desired in all Greece. All the heroes of the peninsula – from Ulysses to Ajax – appear before her father to ask for her hand in marriage. But she is also the epitomy of treachery: she left her husband Menelaus, king of Sparta, and ran away with Paris, a foreigner, to live in Troy. The Trojan war, much written about in literature, broke out because of her.
“There are many rumours about me. All kinds of contradictory things are said about me: some people think I am the worst among women, the cause of multiple damage, while others claim I am pure and innocent, splendid prey for men and a useful pawn in the hands of the gods. And then there are those who imply that it’s all wrong and that I am actually a goddess. What should you believe? What’s the truth? That’s why I’ve come from eternity to tell you about myself, firsthand.”
“Francesca Sensini restores Helen of Troy’s voice to her with love and precision. She does this at a time – our time – when women are no longer content with having their stories told by men.”
Nadia Terranova, bestselling Italian author
Francesca Sensini was born in Genoa in 1974. After graduating in Classics, she taught at a number of universities in France and is currently a lecturer in Italian Studies at the University of Côte d’Azur. She is obstinately convinced that Greek myths, so distant, are relevant to our modern lives, and that the rocks of that sea conceal the sense of the sacred that we’ve lost. La versione di Elena is her first novel.