I actually surprised myself. With my long-standing allergy to most things Arthur I somehow didn’t expect to sit down and read Mary Hoffman’s reissued Queen Guinevere. But I thought ‘it’s a rewriting and a picture book. It can’t hurt.’
Mary has written the story (well, stories, I suppose) about Arthur and Lancelot and Galahad and all those other knights with the names you have always known, as seen from the points of view of the women. It’s really interesting.
This is not a picture book for small children. To begin with, Christina Balit’s truly gorgeous illustrations are quite grown-up, and you could get by with just looking at them. I can’t begin to guess what age group this is aimed at. It’s about sixty pages of text, and the stories are anything but innocent, with incest and killings.
But as I said, I enjoyed reading it. There was a most useful family tree to guide me as to who’s who (although I wish they weren’t all called M something, or G something), and hearing the story through the women, you presumably get a clearer view of what went on.
Here’s to Ragnell, Nimue and Elaine, and all the rest of them.