★★★★ Woman from Colchis by Danko Antolovic is a stirring short story that tells the myth of Medeia and her lover, Jason (of the Argonauts). Before she met the man who sought the Golden Fleece on Colchis, Medeia was the daughter of a king, and a priestess of the goddess Hecate, whose favor had made Medeia strong in the art of witchcraft and potion-making. Determined to leave her home behind, Medeia conspires to help Jason pass a series of impossible trials set forth by her father to prevent the young man from winning the Golden Fleece; with her charms and guidance, Jason easily wins the item. The pair escapes on Jason’s ship and sails to the city of Iolcos, where he has pledged to hand the Fleece over to King Pelias. But Pelias is an unjust ruler, and his actions in Jason’s absence will pit the young man (and his sorcerous lover) against him. As Jason and Medeia formulate plans for revenge, they also threaten to sever the very ties between them.
The story of Medeia is not a pleasant one—but few Greek myths are. Antolovic has wisely chosen his narrative subject; Medeia is a compelling person, blessed with terrible power but cursed to be betrayed by everyone who gets close to her. Antolovic’s writing carries the story along with an almost somnambulant sensuality. His prose is carefully crafted, and the images he summons are by turns haunting and phantasmagorical. Fans of contemporary myth retellings like Madeline Miller’s Circe will be sure to enjoy this one.