Thursday, 2 August 2018

Canons ~ #TheMyths



 I am delighted to be able to feature this collection of lovely novellas in a bold retelling of legendary tales by the world's best contemporary writers

Published in August 2018




The six most popular myths have been beautifully packaged in a stunning series redesign.



In A Short History of Myth, Karen Armstrong holds up the mirror of mythology to show us the history of ourselves, and embarks on a journey that begins at a Neanderthal graveside and ends buried in the heart of the modern novel.

My thoughts:

This is a good introduction to the concept of myth and how the history of our people has evolved through the myths and legends of our past. The author writes well and explains how myths carry us forward into our future whilst recognising the power of the past. 




Condemned to shoulder the world forever by the gods he dared defy, freedom seems unattainable to Atlas. But then he receives an unexpected visit from Heracles, the one man strong enough to share the burden.

My thoughts:

The story of Atlas and Heracles is re-told in this imaginative interpretation by Jeanette Winterson. Interesting and thought-provoking, Weight is a new slant on an old, old story. 




Penelope. Immortalised in legend and myth as the devoted wife of the glorious Odysseus, silently weaving and unpicking and weaving again as she waits for her husband’s return. Now Penelope wanders the underworld, spinning a different kind of thread: her own side of the story - a tale of lust, greed and murder.

My thoughts:

The deft hand of Margaret Attwood is very much in evidence in this version of the story of Penelope and Odysseus. It is not a story I was very familiar with, and so to have this very readable version was a very good introduction to this ancient story of lust, greed and murder.



This is the story of two brothers. One is impassioned and one reserved. One is destined to go down in history and the other to be forgotten.
In Pullman’s hands, this sacred tale is reborn as one of the most enchanting, thrilling and visionary stories of recent years.

My Thoughts:

In this modern retelling of the life of Jesus, Philip Pullman adds a new twist to the old story. Cleverly constructed, and with a style of writing that has universal appeal, this book has a resonance that remains long after the last page is turned.




In exhilarating and lucid prose, Grossman gives us a provocative new take on the story of Samson: his battle with the lion, the three hundred burning foxes, the women he bedded, the one he loved and who betrayed him and the destruction of the temple. It reveals the journey of a lonely and tortured soul, whose search for a true home echoes our own private struggles.

My thoughts:

The Myth of Samson and Delilah so much the subject of books and films, is such an iconic story that it is to the author's credit that he has brought something new to the table. I thoroughly enjoyed this interpretation of the struggles of Samson.





Girl meets boy. It’s a story as old as time. But what happens when an old story meets a brand new set of circumstances? Ali Smith’s remix of Ovid’s most joyful metamorphosis is a story about the kind of fluidity that can’t be bottled and sold. It is about girls and boys, girls and girls, love and transformation, a story of puns and doubles, reversals and revelations.

My thoughts:


I think of this set of Myths, this one has to be my favourite. The retelling of Ovid's story of Iphis and Ianthe seemed to have a very modern feel to it and the variability of gender, of girls who are like boys, and boys who are like girls, seems particularly apt for a modern readership.




Twitter @CanongateBooks #TheMyths


My thanks to Canongate for my review copies of the Myths




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Thanks for taking the time to comment - Jaffa and I appreciate your interest.