The Myths

This page will bring together my reading of ‘The Myths‘ series, published by Canongate, in which modern authors retell or reimagine major myths from around the world. It was launched in 2005. Sadly Canongate appear to have put the series into hiatus, which is a shame.

A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong

The first book in the series is a scholarly appraisal of the world of myth and its importance to us. Armstrong’s primer tells us about the evolution of human society and how myths are bound up in spiritual belief. Absolutely fascinating and an ideal starting point. My Review

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

Penelope is the wife that Odysseus left behind when he went off to Helen’s rescue and took twenty years to come home. Atwood’s feminist retelling of the story from Penelope’s point of view from beyond the grave together with a chorus of twelve hanged maids is full of Atwood’s wit and candour. My Review

Weight by Jeanette Winterson

Winterson retells the story of Atlas, Heracles and his labour of fetching some of Hera’s golden apples. Winterson doesn’t take a conventional approach, she inserts herself as an obsessed narrator retelling the story.  My review.

The Helmet of Horror by Victor Pelevin

Translated by Andrew Bromfield

Lion’s Honey by David Grossman

Dream Angus by Alexander McCall Smith

Where Three Roads Meet by Salley Vickers

Girl meets Boy by Ali Smith

Binu and the Great Wall by Su Tong

The Fire Gospel by Michel Faber

Baba Yaga Laid An Egg by Dubravka Ugresic

The Hurricane Party by Klas Ostergren

Orphans of Eldorado by Milton Hatoum

Brazilian author Hatoum sets his tale early 20thC Manaus – before it became the capital of Amazonia. He weaves the myth of Eldorado, the fabled city of gold in with Amazonian myths and creates a love story when a young businessman falls for an orphan from upriver. My Review

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman

You may remember the fracas that surrounded this one. How dare a non-believer take on the New Testament! Pullman finds a fascinating way of contrasting the Messiah and the man and writes with great simplicity to tell his version of the story. My Review, Write-up of the launch event

Ragnarok by A S Byatt

Byatt’s masterly retelling of Ragnarok uses the framing device of a child discovering an old book of the Norse myths and telling us about them. Her version is steeped in nature which was particularly reguiling. My Review

The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino

Kirino bases her tale of two sisters, separated by becoming traditional priestesses of life and death on a tiny island in Japan, on the Shinto creation myth of Izanagi and Izanami. It has love, adventure and revenge, and explores the role of the goddess in myth. My Review

The Song of King Gesar by Alai