Food For Crows

Story of Antigone
Ali Smith, illustrated by Laura Paoletti
Allen & Unwin
November 2015
$16.99

410T8NkJ-3L._SX368_BO1,204,203,200_It’s perhaps not the easiest thing to do, to introduce a child to the convoluted and depressing world of Greek tragedy and somehow engage them in the story. Certainly when I was subjected to Oedipus the King at the age of eleven I was bored out of my skull. Coming after the much more interesting and child-friendly histories of the feats of Heracles, anything that came in play form might as well have been a list of shampoo ingredients for the all the interest they held.

One would imagine then that adapting Sophocles’s tragedy Antigone for younger readers would be a daunting task. It is a challenge that Ali Smith has risen to with aplomb. In her adaptation, The Story of Antigone, the tale is told from the point of view of a crow. A charming character, we are introduced to our witness at the very end of a battle as she describes how to grab a quick morsel for dinner before all the human women (the still-alives) come to collect their dead (food for crows). The theme of death, of human carcasses as things that provide sustenance to other creatures, is constant. Continue reading

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