Book Review: Mythos – Stephen Fry
Hello everyone! I hope you have had a lovely week and are looking forward to the bank holiday weekend! I sure am!
Firstly, I’d like to express a quick apology for not posting my promised Top Ten Tuesday post this week. It turns out trying to choose your top ten characters in A Game of Thrones is quite hard! By Tuesday evening I had picked my candidates but only written up about half of them. I didn’t feel rushing the post was in my best interests. Anyway, I’ll talk more about it in my wrap up on Sunday.
For today, I’ll be reviewing a book I borrowed from my library in February… a book that also happens to be the first in my challenge to read more non-fiction. I was compelled to pick this up for two reasons. Firstly, reading The Road to Alexander in January piqued my interest in the subject since Greek mythology comes up in that quite a lot – particularly the tale of Persephone comes up a lot. I chose Stephen Fry’s re-telling because I have enjoyed another book of his previously. Back in September 2017 I read his book, Making History. It’s a fictional tale exploring the history of World War II and the consequences of Adolf Hitler not being born. Knowing that I enjoy his writing style, Mythos felt like a natural choice to take my first real steps into Greek Mythology with.
Mythos – Stephen Fry
The Greek myths are the greatest stories ever told, passed down through millennia and inspiring writers and artists as varied as Shakespeare, Michelangelo, James Joyce and Walt Disney.
They are embedded deeply in the traditions, tales and cultural DNA of the West. In Stephen Fry’s hands the stories of the titans and gods become a brilliantly entertaining account of ribaldry and revelry, warfare and worship, debauchery, love affairs and life lessons, slayings and suicides, triumphs and tragedies.
You’ll fall in love with Zeus, marvel at the birth of Athena, wince at Cronus and Gaia’s revenge on Ouranos, weep with King Midas and hunt with the beautiful and ferocious Artemis.
Thoroughly spellbinding, informative and moving, Stephen Fry’s Mythos perfectly captures these stories for the modern age – in all their rich and deeply human relevance.
If you were to studiously explore Greek Mythology… you would be busy for quite a while purely because there are so many Gods/Goddesses. Some are names we know already – Apollo, Hermes, Aphrodite. There are many, many… many others. Although the book covers vast a number of stories about the different Gods and their interactions with each other, the book isn’t overwhelming.
Mythos’s narrative is written in an almost chronological manner, beginning with the Gods and Goddesses referred to as Olympians before moving on to their children… so on and so forth. Each tale is broken up into its own section, making it as digestible as possible. The subject matter, should you want to study it closely, can get complicated quite quickly. More than once I referred to infographics to follow the heredity.
The tales within Mythos could easily be read for entertainment or for educational purposes. Obviously, I have read it for entertainment and did so within a matter of days. I quite enjoyed the footnotes that accompanied the tales. They drop in context where appropriate and additional facts such as the names of the Roman God/Goddess equivalents. There are even some of Stephen Fry’s wittier comments for an element of humour.
The book is a great introduction to the topic. I knew relatively little about it and I’d recommend it to anyone else wanting to read up on the subject. You can read and take away as much or as little as you want. Stephen Fry’s humour and natural narrative voice make it easy to lose yourself in the heroics and follies of the Gods. So much so that you realise you are still awake and reading past your bedtime.
Not that I would do such a thing as that…