OF THE BABY NAME TROY
Troy Maxson is the protagonist of August Wilson’s 1983 Pulitzer Prize winning play, “Fences”, one of ten in his Pittsburgh Cycle, each of which looks at a decade of the twentieth century and the struggles pertinent to it and the African American experience. Fences takes place in the fifties. Troy is a fifty three year old husband and father who is both sinner and sinned against. The son of a poor sharecropper, Troy has made a better life for his own family through his job as a garbage-man, yet he harbors a deep resentment at being kept out of the (white) baseball major leagues, although he was a highly skilled player in his youth. He is a responsible citizen who has also robbed, murdered and spent years in jail for his crimes. He is a loving husband who cheats on his wife. He is a devoted father who keeps his son from his own dream of attending college on a football scholarship. He takes in his brother, who has been mentally disabled by a wound received in World War II, but he uses his brother’s pension checks to buy the house they all live in. Troy represents the struggles, wins and losses of an entire race, certainly, but he is also representative of Everyman, in his stubborn refusal to see things the way they really are and his insistence on clinging to old dreams and hopes which no longer serve a purpose. Tragically, through these very human failings, he alienates those whom he loves best and loses his long-fought battle to stave off Death.
The New York Times bestseller “Helen of Troy” by Margaret George (author of Mary, Called Magdalene). With her amazing ability to summon the voices of historical characters, Margaret George in Helen of Troy tells the story of the woman whose face famously “launched a thousand ships”. Laden with doom, yet surprising in its moments of innocence and beauty, this is a beautifully told story of a legendary woman and her times. An exquisite page-turner with a cast of irresistible characters: Odysseus, Hector, Achilles, Priam, Clytemnestra, Agamemnon, as well as Helen and Paris themselves, plus a wealth of material that reproduces the Age of Bronze in all its glory. Helen of Troy brings to life a war that we have all learned about but never before experienced.
Helen is the famed most beautiful woman of all in mythology, as described by Homer in both The Iliad and The Odyssey, dated around the 8th century B.C., and by Euripides in his play, Helen, first performed around 412 B.C. Helen is thought to have been the result of the union between the god Zeus and the mortal Leda, who transformed herself into a swan. While still a young girl, Helen is kidnapped by Theseus, but later is rescued by her brothers. After entertaining scores of suitors, Helen becomes the wife of Menelaus (king) of Sparta, but of course her story doesn’t end there. The Trojan, Paris, when called upon to decide who amongst the goddesses is the most beautiful, chooses Aphrodite, due to her bribe of rewarding him with Helen. Helen and Paris fall in love while Menelaus is conveniently away for a family funeral, and they elope to Troy (never mind that the bride-to-be is already married). Helen is adored in Troy, and the Trojans stave off the avenging Greeks for the duration of a ten year war. The Greeks prevail, of course, by coming up with that marvelous Trojan horse, win the day, and bring Helen back with them to Greece. Legend has it that Helen and Menelaus live happily into old age together, against all odds. At least that is the story most often told, and it doesn’t bode too well for the character of Helen. She seems to be a plaything of gods and men, going where the winds blow strongest, and causing havoc - all for the moniker of “… the face that launched a thousand ships”, as well as an ongoing immortal reputation. Would you go there?
Subtitled: A Magnificent Saga of Courage, Betrayal, Devotion, and Destiny. The rightful-born queen of Lyrnessos, Briseis watched helplessly from the battlements as her husband and brothers were crushed by the invincible army of King Agamemnon. Taken into slavery, the proud, beautiful seer became the prize of Prince Achilles, the conquering Greeks' mightiest hero. But passion forged chains stronger than any iron, binding the hearts of captive and captor with a love that knew no equal, and when Troy fell, great Achilles promised his beloved Briseis would reign at his side as queen of Thessaly. Yet the jealousy of a ruthless king and the whims of the capricious deities would deny the lovers their happiness. As the flames of war rose higher around them, the prophetess vowed to save the beloved warrior for whom her dark gift foretold doom -- even if it meant defying the gods themselves.