Wednesday, February 08, 2006

You Had a Nice Run, Edith

Canongate Books has started a series of fantasy books that sounds pretty cool. No elves and dwarves; The Myths are all modern retellings of classic mythology.

They started with a non-fiction book called A Short History of Myth, which sounds dry, but probably isn't. The next two in the series sound strong enough that my confidence in A Short History of Myth is boosted.

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood retells the story of Homer's Odyssey from the point of view of Odysseus's wife Penelope. According to Canongate: "The Odyssey, draws to an end with the slaughter of the Suitors by Odysseus and Telemachus, the hanging of twelve of the maids who have been sleeping with the Suitors, and the reunion of Odysseus and Penelope... what led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to? The story as told in The Odyssey doesn't hold water: there are too many inconsistencies. In The Penelopiad, Penelope provides the answers."

The one that really tickles my fancy though is Weight by Jeanette Winterson. It's the behind-the-scenes tale of why Atlas really got stuck with the job of holding up the world and what he did with his time off when he tricked Hercules into temporarily taking over. And according to Bookgasm, it all somehow ties into the Russian space program. Check out the Bookgasm review for some great lines from Hercules (Heracles, actually) that show him for the misogynistic bastard he is.

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