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text 2019-08-12 21:05
Ancient Greece
Heroes - Stephen Fry
House of Names - Colm Tóibín
The Silence of the Girls - Pat Barker
Circe - Madeline Miller
Home is the Hunter: A Comedy in Two Acts - Helen MacInnes
Der Gesang der Wellen - Manuel Vicent

I had not planned this, but sometimes books just work out this way. 


As I'm in the middle of the third book this month that is a re-telling of Greek myths and history, I might as well make a month of it. 


My library reservation of Circe became available and I recently picked up Home is the Hunter, which should be interesting as MacInnes is better-known for the thrillers, and Der Gesang der Wellen (tr. The Song of the Sea/Waves), which was a recommendation by a fellow BookLiker, Locus Amoenus. I had no idea what Der Gesang der Wellen is about but the back cover tells me it features Odysseus. 


So, there we have it, I'm going to spend much of August in Ancient Greece.

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review 2019-08-11 01:29
Heroes - Stephen Fry

Oedipus is a detective who employs all the fields of enquiry of which the Athenians were so proud – logic, numbers, rhetoric, order and discovery – only to reveal a truth that is disordered, shameful, transgressive and bestial.

What I loved best about Heroes were Fry's summaries and general commentary how the stories related to each other and how different Greek playwrights treated the same stories in different ways. 


Other than this, Fry's retelling of the stories is probably better for readers who are new to the Greek tragedies. And I am not saying this because I'm an expert on Greek tragedies or mythology or have some sort of snobbish attitude towards the material. I'm purely surmising this because I was quite bored by a lot of the stories. 

Sure, the stories were re-told in their substance, but I think I was missing some depth that I found in other adaptations, or even the originals.


For example, Colm Toibin's House of Names, which I read last week, was riveting and made me think quite a bit about the characters and the implied expectations of character development. 

With Fry's stories, I didn't get a sense of complex characters at all. And the stories didn't have the same sense of unexpected plot development as the stories in Mythos - as far as well-known stories can be "unexpected". 

Maybe the heroes are to blame for this. Maybe the heroes just aren't as interesting as the Gods, but...gee, I was bored even favourite stories such as the one about Orpheus, Jason and Medea, and Oedipus. Atalanta's story was good but it somewhat fizzled out at the end.


Anyway, the audiobook is still a fun way to spend some quality time immersed in Greek mythology.  

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text 2019-08-09 23:08
Reading progress update: I've read 125 out of 480 pages.
Heroes - Stephen Fry

I don't like Heracles. He's a bit of an arse. 

Just saying.

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text 2019-08-07 22:04
Reading progress update: I've read 35 out of 480 pages.
Heroes - Stephen Fry

‘I did it! I did it! I did it!’ Perseus shouted to the moon.

   Indeed he had. With Medusa’s head safely stored inside the satchel he had originally dismissed as so uninteresting, he flew on in a state of intoxicated excitement. Indeed, so excited was he, so high on the thrill of his achievement, that he took a wrong turn. Instead of turning left he turned right, and soon found himself flying along a strange coastline.

   Mile after mile he flew, not tiring, but growing increasingly bewildered by the unfamiliar shore. And suddenly, in the first light of dawn, the most extraordinary sight met his eyes.

A beautiful girl, naked and chained to a rock.

He flew up to her.

‘What are you doing here?’

‘What does it look like I’m doing? And I’ll thank you to keep your eyes up on my face, if you don’t mind.’

And now re-read this with Andromeda flaunting a Welsh accent!


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text 2019-08-05 23:06
Reading progress update: I've read 28 out of 480 pages.
Heroes - Stephen Fry

LoL. Wyrd sisters ... and I love Fry's narration (I'm listening to the audio while reading) - more Python that Pratchett but it works well and made me laugh:

As Perseus approached the mouth of the cave he slipped on the cap that Hermes had given him, the Hood of Hades. The moment it was on his head, the long shadow that had been striding along the sand beside him disappeared. Everything was darker and a little misty with the hood over his eyes, but he could see well enough.

   ‘I won’t be needing these,’ he said to himself, leaving the scythe, satchel and shield on the sand outside the cave. He followed the murmur of voices and a glimmer of light through a long, winding passageway. The light grew brighter and the voices louder.

   ‘It’s my turn to have the tooth!’

‘I’ve only just put it in.’

   ‘Then PEMPHREDO should let me have the eye at least.’

‘Oh, stop moaning, ENYO …’

   As Perseus entered the chamber he saw, held in the flickering light of a lamp that hung over them, three fantastically old women. Their ragged clothes, straggling hair and sagging flesh were as grey as the stones of the cave. In the bare lower gum of one of the sisters jutted up a single yellow tooth. In the eye socket of another sister a solitary eyeball darted back and forth and up and down in the most alarming manner. It was just as Hermes had said, one eye and one tooth between them.

   A pile of bones lay heaped on the floor. The sister with the tooth was gnawing the side of one, stripping it of its rotten flesh. The sister with the eye had picked up another bone and was inspecting it closely and lovingly. The third sister, with no eye and no tooth, raised her head with a jerk and sniffed the air sharply.

‘I smell a mortal,’ she shrieked, stabbing a finger in the direction of Perseus.

‘Look, Pemphredo. Use the eye!’

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