Daily Archives: February 9th, 2009

Gods Behaving Badly

My mother told me to read this book, and after reading about Aphrodite and Apollo getting it on like rabbits I’m a leedle bit embarrassed by that.

The book’s by Marie Phillips; from what I can tell it’s a first novel. The Olympians live in a big old house in London, and it – and them – have definitely seen better days. They bicker and argue, and they still try to act as cavalierly with humans as in ‘the good old days’ – but their power is significantly reduced, which naturally feeds into some rather serious frustration. And then there’s Neil and Alice, the classic near-innocents who get tied up in a cosmic game…

You need a certain amount of knowledge about ancient Greek myth to get along with this book. Although some references are explained – like Daphne, and Orpheus&Eurydice – without a basic grasp on the personalities and traits of gods like Artemis and Aphrodite et al, I think you’d probably struggle to fully appreciate this story.

That said, with a rudimentary understanding, this is a very funny story. Apollo reduced to being an oracle on cable? Artemis the dog-walker? And let’s not even talk about Zeus… Perhaps the funniest two are Eros and Athene. Eros, the Christian. And Athene, mind-boggling intelligent… but articulate? Not so much. Even without an ancient Greek background, it would still be funny, since it’s obvious they’re gods and it’s obvious they’re not happy about their current place in the cosmos.

An amusing story that took me a couple of hours to barge through. Highly recommended for a bit of ancient Greek fluff.