Book review: xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths

Fifty leading writers retell myths from around the world in this dazzling follow-up to the bestselling My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me.

Icarus flies once more. Aztec jaguar gods again stalk the earth. An American soldier designs a new kind of Trojan horse—his cremains in a bullet. Here, in beguiling guise, are your favorite mythological figures alongside characters from Indian, Punjabi, Inuit, and other traditions.

Aimee Bender retells the myth of the Titans.
Elizabeth McCracken retells the myth of Lamia, the child-eating mistress of Zeus.
Madeline Miller retells the myth of Galatea.
Kevin Wilson retells the myth of Phaeton, from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
Emma Straub and Peter Straub retell the myth of Persephone.
Heidi Julavits retells the myth of Orpheus and Euridice.
Ron Currie, Jr. retells the myth of Dedalus.
Maile Meloy retells the myth of Demeter.
Zachary Mason retells the myth of Narcissus.
Joy Williams retells the myth of Argos, Odysseus’ dog.

What is the deepest loss that you have suffered? If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine.

I’m a big fan of myths, there are always that mix of tragedy, pain, and love wrapped into one single stab to the heart kind of burrito when you read a myth. And, although I tend to end up being angry and disappointed, I always have a soft spot for retellings, that being said when I saw this book, I thought it was best to give this book a try. To be completely honest, I wasn’t hoping much because sometimes short stories aren’t really fulfilling as it tends to end before it even starts, but there were some names that interests me, such that of Anthony Marra (spoiler alert: it was not disappointing), that gave me hope to try out this book.

I mean, I don’t know.

I did said that I was not disappointed with the retelling of Icarus by Anthony Marra, but that was just one story of the many that were inside this book so I can’t just say that the whole entire book was great judging from just a couple of stories that I did enjoy (and yes, I did enjoy several other stories). I’m not saying the other stories were bad, or were written in ways that were not enjoyable, it wasn’t something that I particularly like (?). The stories itself were oddly written, but that may be because I wasn’t accustomed with some of the writers; some other stories were just plain weird because it feels like it wasn’t going anywhere and suddenly it stops.

I know it was bias of me to complain about something like that when I particularly enjoy the weirdness of Haruki Murakami’s style of writing, but then again this was a short story, so when it goes on and on about something without proper direction and to have it end suddenly, it definitely was not something I would have favoured.

I don’t know, I’m still trying to understand it.

Not that I need to understand the stories, I mean it was a retelling of myths so what was there to understand but to enjoy the stories. I need to understand my own take of some of the stories I did enjoy; was it enough for me to recommend it? At the end of the day, if you like retellings and myths, I don’t see why you shouldn’t give this book a try.

Title: xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths

Edited by: Kate Bernheimer

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Short stories


Goodreads link


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