A gender-bending tale about how modern day sex relationships came to be. When Actaeon returns from the sea determined to marry his beloved Diana -- the greatest huntress and ruler-to-be of the land -- the Licentians in the fabled land of Licentia are shocked. But Diana likes Actaeon too, so Licentians stir up gossip, rumor, and betrayal to thwart their love. The shenanigans bring Licentia to war, destroying, most terribly of all, the land's coupling traditions, including the Barzexton, the Koites, and the Kunte. Written in chronicle form, the story wanders through the voices of oeconomica specialist Tantral, impecunious Pornog, and Jealomene who can only be a tailor, not a huntress, because she lacks bushy armpits.
If you enjoy light-hearted stories with a touch of humor and satire, then Koites: An Ancient Myth About How Modern Day Sex Relationships Came to Be by Kyllie Pinker will provide you hours of entertaining fun. The author sweeps us into a fable about a place named Licentia and a time long ago where desirable women sported bushy legs and hairy arm pits and men shaved themselves hairless clean-shaven; where coupling rituals were strictly controlled and women had the power to chose a mate best suited.
Diana is a young woman being primed for her mating ritual. Much to everyone’s chagrin, she chooses Actaeon, a seafarer much disliked by the town folk. The fact that he bends the rules of the Barzexton mating ritual where the males present themselves to Diana to choose from, causes trouble and the entire village tries to keep the couple apart.
The author has written a highly imaginative, comedic story about sex. It is a satire of pornography and intimacy, poking fun at men and women alike. The book itself is not lengthy and makes for a fast read. The prose is very rich and colorful, adding to the elegance of this little fable. Sexy, informative, funny, and delightful, there is much to enjoy in this tiny book that packs a big punch!
Today I'm so pleased to have Kyllie Pinker who has kindly offered to tell us a bit more about herself and this comedic book that kept me chuckling from start to finish. Welcome Kyllie!
so much for having me, Mirella!
1. Welcome to History and Women. Can you tell us a little about your novel?
I wrote Koites as a comedic backstory to Ovid’s famous myth about Actaeon and Diana. Ovid tells how Actaeon was turned into a stag by the goddess Diana and then Ovid explains it all happened by fate. I’ve created a fantasy story that scolds Ovid and says, “Are you kidding me?”
The novella begins when Actaeon returns from the sea determined to marry his beloved Diana. She now happens to be the greatest huntress and ruler-to-be of his hometown, called Licentia. In the end, Actaeon doesn’t “get the girl” and instead, his presence and his strange ways bring Licentia to ruin.
In between, we learn that women in this land are huntresses with bushy armpits, while men are clean-shaven and relegated to a life of child-rearing and homemaking.
2. What inspired you to write a novel about a woman in this period of history?
When I was a kid, I had a love for ancient Greek and Roman mythology. My readings made me want to travel extensively to the ancient ruins: Ephesus, Athens, and Delphi, for example. I also lived in Naples, Italy for three years and spent a great deal of time roaming the ancient ruins there, including Pompeii and the Phlegraean Fields. The grand temples of the goddesses especially inspired my imagination, so I really wanted to write a story set in mythical ancient times.
3. What hardships did women face in this particular century and what lessons can today's woman learn from it?
Although scholars who write about the history of ancient times show that women were kept out of public life and forced to stay at home carrying out child-care duties, the mythology points to a different world entirely. Goddesses were often equal to men in strength, ruthlessness, jealousy, and compassion. Goddesses were also very much in the public eye.
Greek and Roman myths also centered around the notion of ‘fate.’ But I think we moderns believe less in fate and more in choice. So I created a world in which there was a complete role reversal of women and men and then I asked: What choices would boys make under these circumstances? What choices would girls make if they had all the power?
I blend the two ideas, fate and choice, and then leave it up to women to make up their minds about how much they impact their own roles in society today.
4. What inspired you about your heroine? Why did you choose her?
I chose Diana because I’ve always admired her in mythology. She is a huntress and also an independent female who goes against the norm of what is considered proper for women in ancient Greece and Rome. (And maybe even what’s considered proper for women today.)
5. Can you describe a typical writing day?
I wake up, get the kids off to school, and sit down at my desk. I write for several hours just like someone who works at an office. It’s a pretty reliable and boring schedule, really.
6. Can you tell us briefly about your other novels and any new novels in the works?
Shshsh. It’s a secret. J