Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry
|Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: The multi-talented Stephen Fry turns his hand to retelling the Greek Myths. Enchanting stories told with considerable skill, this is a collection that will be a welcome addition to any bookshelf and a wonderful reimagining of ancient tales.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 432||Date: November 2017|
|Publisher: Michael Joseph|
|External links: [www.stephenfry.com Author's website]|
The Greek Myths are, arguably, the greatest stories ever told. So old and influential they cast a shadow over western tales and traditions, yet remain relatable and readable millennia later. Here comedian, actor, television presenter, actor and author Stephen Fry brings his considerable talent to these special stories and recreates them with a wit, warmth and humanity that brings them into the modern age whilst still giving the honour and respect that such ancient and influential stories deserve.
Stephen Fry is, of course, a national treasure. There's no real way around that – he writes brilliantly, performs fantastically, and has opened much-needed dialogues about depression and mental illness. He's one of the few figures who can appear everywhere yet fail to annoy or disappoint – and having read almost all of his previous works I was hugely excited to see Stephen Fry take a look at the Greek myths.
These are stories that enchanted me as a child – a Great Uncle regularly bought me Greek plates painted with images from the myths. I know now that they were cheap, tourist souvenirs, but to a young boy in a sleepy market town they were a portal to another world - athletic, beautiful figures engaged in feats of wonder and violence – I bought every book I could on the myths and lapped them up, even, much to the surprise of my poor parents, declaring myself a pagan and a devotee of Athene (a little precocious for a six year old, but there we are…). Different interpretations of the myths give them different weights and different meanings – and the Gods themselves are tricky characters to pin down – often veering through several different personalities in the space of one story.
What makes these stories wonderful is the humanity at the core of them, and how it still speaksclearly to us today. Fry embraces that – there is a powerful pull and warmth to the core of every one of the tales here, and even briefly mentioned characters are blessed with a brief brushstroke of personality and self in order to bring them to life in the mind of the reader. These characters exist alongside beautiful writing – carefully chosen words and sparklingly witty dialogue. Those who have seen Fry back in his days of presenting QI may think that this book may be filled with unpronounceable words and slightly baffling concepts at all, but that isn't the case – the words have been curated with great skill, and poured into stories that flow so well they cry out to be spoken out loud.
These myths can often be rather dark, and there's no small amount of violence, assault and rape – but Fry covers these moments with maturity and care – ensuring that the majority of these tales can be read and beloved by a new generation of readers. Helpful footnotes from Fry also provide excellent historical and cultural context for these stories – reasserting to the readers just how important these tales are, and why they absolutely deserve to have been reimagined in this fantastic new edition that may well be definitive for years to come.
Many thanks to the publishers for the copy – for further reading I recommend Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman – a tale that blends mythical elements with contemporary characters to compelling effect
You can read more book reviews or buy Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry at Amazon.com.
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