STRANGERS DARK AND GOLD by Norma Johnston

STRANGERS DARK AND GOLD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Strangers Dark and Gold is one of those worthy but essentially arid undertakings -- a retelling of the Jason and Medea story which merely amalgamates the sources of Apollonius, Pindar and Euripides into a single coherent narrative without imposing any significant interpretation on the material. Johnston does develop the motivations of Jason and Medea, though along traditional lines -- Jason as a man not cut out for the role destiny has dealt him, Medea as endowed with a more modern consciousness of her own powers for good and evil. However no other characters are portrayed in this manner, the pacing is that of myth, and the language is formal and stately -- a diction that compares well to many pseudo-19th century and pseudo-biblical retellings, but still artificial. Johnston creates a Medea of impressive dignity and power, while steering clear of the gore and eroticism of John Gardner's Jason and Medea. But the earlier episodes on the Argo do tend to drag on, and it's unlikely that anyone without a strong interest in classical myths will persist. As for those who are ready to appreciate Johnston's intelligent, if not very creative, handling of the sources, they will still find this work incidental to the Greek drama and poetry they could read just as easily and far more profitably.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1975
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Atheneum