Review: Sappho Sings by Peggy Ullman Bell

Here SAPPHO SINGS in her own words. Ancient phrases become the warp and weave of an intricate tapestry so delicately woven it becomes impossible to distinguish the imported threads from the weaver’s own.

Readers familiar with the myriad translations of the few fragmented lines of Sappho’s work left available to us may recognize a word here or a conjunct there but, as one renowned expert in antiquities discovered, the author has herself become the voice of The Poetess to the extent that invented passages read like newly discovered wonders from the past.

Review by: Margaret Leigh

This novel relates the life, loves and sorrows of “Sappha” as the poet called herself. It is a richly crafted novel which draws from what little survives of Sappho’s works and threads these through the story, whilst also adding the author’s own original compositions to them. Sappho comes to life in these pages. The story shows the author’s admitted deep love for Sappho in every page.

This is a book which requires concentration to read, and not one I would recommend if you’re looking for a few hours of easy escapism. The world portrayed within its pages is lavishly detailed and drawn with the masterful brush strokes of an artist.

I found myself falling in love with Sappho and deeply involved in her story, wanting to know if she would eventually triumph, and how. I could relate to Sappho’s deep need to be recognized and to become more than just an ordinary Aeolian woman of her times. Her repeated prayers for her voice to be heard are heart-cries that couldn’t fail to stir the sympathy of anyone who has ever felt stifled or voiceless.

Sappho lives her life, sings her songs and makes her mark all over again in this beautiful retelling of her life.

The threads of poetry interleaved within the story, both those written by Sappho herself, and those crafted by the author lend an authenticity to Sappho’s voice and keep the reader ever conscious that this is a poet, a songstress, dare I think even a prophetess?

Points that might weigh against it:

It can be a little heavy handed at times with descriptions of setting and place which, though necessary to bring the reader into the world, occasionally verge on being distracting rather than evocative.

Overall , I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good, solid, historical read and doesn’t mind the need to really concentrate and focus on it.

Author’s website

Buy the book: Create Space Amazon USA Paperback Amazon USA Kindle

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