Thursday, 12 November 2009
Like Mayflies in a Stream by Shauna Roberts (Book Review)
This is a fictionalized story about Gilgamesh in ancient Mesopotamia where Ms Roberts has developed an in-depth detailed description of Sumarian life in 2800 BC in the city of Uruk. From what I know of the story of King Gilgamesh, Ms Roberts has not deviated much from the tale to portray the characters in a manner she feels would be appropriate for their stature in the community.
The story is seen through multiple points of view from Enkidu, the wild man who lives with the gazelles in the desert; Gilgamesh, the cruel tyrant king of Uruk, and Shamhat, a temple priestess of the Goddess Ianna, who fears the wrath of the gods over Gilgamesh’s behaviour.
There are two dream prophecies: one from the temple priest, Nanna-Ur-Sag, of a man from the wild who will humble Gilgamesh to restore peace and order to the city; and one from the King, Gilgamesh, of meeting a man who will become a companion to him, his second self.
When word comes to Uruk of a wild man from the desert, Gilgamesh thinks this is the person to relieve his boredom. He arranges for Shamhat to ‘tame’ the wild man Enkidu and bring him back. Little does Gilgamesh know that Shamhat has her own plans for Enkidu to restore favour with the gods.
Once begun this book was difficult to put down as there were always new questions that needed to be answered. The background information and interaction between the characters is richly described and believable. I recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in ancient Sumarian civilization to have a look at what life may have been like. This would also be a good young adult book.
Book format: paperback, 195 pages
Publisher: Hadley Rille Books
Author website: Shauna Roberts