Author: Stephen Fry
Genre: Greek Mythology
Pages: 352 (audiobook 15h 26m)
Rating: 4 of 5
I enjoy Mythology, but I’ve always preferred Norse to Greek. For me, Ragnarok, heroic but slightly doofy Thor, scheming Loki, and the Volsung Saga are more entertaining than the antics of the rapey, skeezy Greek pantheon (not that the Aesir are paragons of virtue). This book didn’t change my preference, but it was a lot of fun!
Stephen Fry weaves the Greek myths into a coherent storyline and recounts them with enough wit and variety that they don’t feel overly repetitive. Listening to the author read his own work adds to the experience as you get both the clever turn of phrase and the humorous inflection.
While Fry makes occasional brief comments on alternate versions, parallels in other cultures, and underlying philosophy/symbolism, he maintains the focus on enjoying these stories as stories. I heartily approve of this approach as that is how I approach mythology (and allows the book to be enjoyed by those whose worldview differs significantly from the Ancient Greeks’ or Stephen Fry’s).
This book covers primarily the early eras of the Greek kosmos, so you won’t find more than a fleeting mention of heroes like Perseus, Jason, Heracles, Achilles, etc. Thankfully, he has written a second book (Heroes: The Greek Myths Reimagined) that covers at least some of those stories. I will definitely be purchasing it with one of my upcoming Audible credits. This is the most I have ever enjoyed Greek mythology, and it’s a must-read/listen for any fan of mythology!
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