Sunday, June 21, 2020

Heroes: The Greek Myths Reimagined (Stephen Fry's Great Mythology #2)

Heroes is the second volume of embellished retelling of the heroes of the Greek myths by the inimitable Stephen Fry. Released 2nd June 2020 by Chronicle Books, it's 352 pages and available in hardcover, audio (narrated by S.Fry himself), and ebook formats.

Stephen Fry is simply a treasure. He's erudite and genuinely funny, urbane but not stuffy. He's self deprecating and frighteningly intelligent but not above being naughtily delighted over a raunchy pun. No surprise, then, that he turned his prodigious writing talent to Greek mythology, this time the heroes of the myths: Perseus, Heracles, Bellerophon, Orpheus, Jason, Atalanta, Oedipus and Theseus. Readers will certainly be familiar with the basic stories; what's new are the asides and footnotes. There are comments on etymology and how the genesis of these stories disappears into our human prehistory. There are also plenty of linguistic asides, showing the threads between the origins of words which are used down through history to today.

There is plenty of truly bloody horrifically violent material in the Greek mythos, but he manages to extract the absurd, the comedic, the ridiculous, and give it his own twist, and in a few cases he left me gasping with laughter. There was a lot of obscure information with which I was unfamiliar, despite my unhealthy obsession with Bullfinch and Graves.

Loved this. Laughed so much. This would make a superlative classroom support book or recommended text for history, classics, group read, home library, etc. Good, well written, worthy historical commentary doesn't have to be boring. What a treasure Mr. Fry is.

Five stars. I'll be revisiting this one and the first volume, and I can't wait to get my grubby little paws on the next one.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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