Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles
“When I was asked to choose a myth to write about, I realized I had chosen already. The story of Atlas holding up the world was in my mind before the telephone call had ended. If the call had not come, perhaps I would never have written the story, but when the call did come, that story was... show more
“When I was asked to choose a myth to write about, I realized I had chosen already. The story of Atlas holding up the world was in my mind before the telephone call had ended. If the call had not come, perhaps I would never have written the story, but when the call did come, that story was waiting to be written. Rewritten. The recurring language motif of Weight is ‘I want to tell the story again.’ My work is full of cover versions. I like to take stories we think we know and record them differently. In the retelling comes a new emphasis or bias, and the new arrangement of the key elements demands that fresh material be injected into the existing text. Weight moves far away from the simple story of Atlas’s punishment and his temporary relief when Heracles takes the world off his shoulders. I wanted to explore loneliness, isolation, responsibility, burden, and freedom, too, because my version has a very particular end not found elsewhere.” -- from Jeanette Winterson’s Foreword to Weight
Publish date: October 5th 2005
Publisher: Canongate U.S.
Pages no: 176
Edition language: English
, European Literature
, British Literature
, Historical Fiction
, Literary Fiction
, Short Stories
Series: Canongate Myths (#3)
Retelling of the myth of Atlas, with some Heracles and Prometeus and Hera and Zeus thrown in as well as Laika - the russian space dog. It is a book that had passages that I had to read out aloud cause of the poetry in them, and some rather embarrassing passages I skim-read fast. It's a short book, a...
I never really liked Hercules. Okay, I liked the Kevin Sorbo series, but Hercules wasn't my favorite character, and Sorbo's Hercules wasn't the Greek Hercules, not really. There was something about Hercules I never liked. Maybe because he was so self-centered. Maybe because he killed horses. Ma...
Disappointing. While I consider myself a rabid Winterson fan, Weight left me cold. I am a bit biased; I *loved* Anne Carson's 'Autobiography of Red' which retells the Hercules/Gerymon myth. Compared to that, Winterson's retelling falls very, very flat.
One of the marks of an "important" book is that you know you'll have to read it several times to figure out everything it has to say to you. Weight is one of those books. In my first reading of the book, I think the most important theme I pulled from it is that people make their own fates. Both Atla...
This was an odd one. I love Winterson's poetic prose, but it was a kind of mash of mythology and introspection and wish fulfillment. The two readers read it a bit over emphatically, like they were in a play, which makes sense with the text, but was also distracting.