- File Size: 593 KB
- Print Length: 192 pages
- Publisher: Blackwyrm Publishing; 1st edition (June 29, 2012)
- Publication Date: June 29, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B008G5WHHA
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,632,650 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$11.95|
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Vine: An Urban Legend Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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Williams wrote a Greek tragedy set in modern times, but he wrote it in the classical Greek play format. There is a large cast of characters including a host of narrators and a chorus giving commentary on the events. The author also has an amazing grasp of language and a vocabulary that had me looking up definitions at least twice per page (thank goodness for the dictionary function on the kindle!) I understood the basic premise of the story and even got some of the clever hidden layers of meaning woven through out, especially when Williams compares the gods' petty and vengeful behavior to man's and shows that they are the same and things haven't changed since ancient times.
I liked how Williams used the play within a play, like in Hamlet, as a vehicle to prove how alike the gods and man are. The protagonist, Stephen, is directing Euripides' tragedy The Bacchae and the cast is also unknowingly playing out the story in real life as the ancient gods manipulate them for fun and for vengeance. The principals in the cast are also being manipulated in the same way by a vengeful game master, who behaves in the same manner as the gods, at their weekly D&D RPG. Like a vicious ironic circle of petty behavior.
I've read other reviews by people who are familiar with Greek literature and they are all impressed with the technical brilliance of the story and able to throw around words like allegory, metaphors and sub context... Oh, My! And they are right, it is all impressively there, but this story isn't for everyone. I am glad I read it. I feel a little smarter for it and learned some new words I will definitely be pulling out at parties <G>.
Sharon Stogner (editing and snarky comments by Kalpar)
in Louisville, mortals and gods conspire together and/or apart from each other as the production of The Bacchae , a Greek tragedy by the Athenian playwright Euripides goes underway.
reading Michael Williams' novel was both a strange and exhilarating experience from start to finish. the story is populated with an assortment of characters that are either made of flesh and blood or of divine origin.
the author's writing style is unconventional yet wonderfully executed. he uses contemporary language and combines prose and poetry with shifting points of view resulting in a surreal mesmerizing drama.
i did find the story difficult to follow at times. nevertheless it had its own appeal that continued to pique my curiosity until the last page.
overall, this book is a unique fusion of urban legend and Greek tragedy that may not be for every reader but it informs, entertains and never disappoints.
Copyright 2012 by Blackwyrm Publishing
Michael Williams said of himself recently that he had always wanted to write a Greek tragedy but he's not Greek, was born about 2500 years to late, and doesn't even read modern Greek much less ancient. Nevertheless, he set forth recently to do something of the sort, anyhow. The result of those efforts is the novel Vine: An Urban Legend, which weds Greek tragedy to urban legend. It is a departure in style and content from Mr. Williams previous work, such as the novel Weasels Luck TSR 1988, and Trajan's Arch Blackwyrm 2012.
Vine is the story of a down and out play director who wants to get some of his own at last by shocking the community. He decides to stage The Bacchae by Euripides for the series of free summer plays at the outside amphitheater in the park. He awakes some ancient forces associated with the play, and they take a hand to make a real tragedy.
Mr. Williams' style is loose and irreverent, yet the story is tight, honest, and respectful. Characters painted as villains from one perspective are sympathetic from another, much like real people the reader might note. There's a bit of the sympathetic fellow and a bit of the villain in all of us you might conclude. Vine exposes the silly conceits, the lack of insight and foresight in people average and people highly successful. It also shows their strengths and hopes. It's funny, tragic, beautiful, and dirty all at once. It won't leave readers happy, this reader thinks, but neither will it necessarily leave readers unsatisfied. It is definitely a tragedy though and not for the faint of heart. Expect some enlightenment, but don't look for a clearly uplifting ending. It is definitely an urban legend and won't make everything stark and clear at the end, so don't look to have it all explained.
There's a fairly unique format in this novel, in that it is told partly in the style of Greek tragedy with a chorus leader and chorus and speaking characters. This adds to the dark charm. It's very readable with an easy, flowing, seemingly discursive style, yet in fact, everything read is pertinent to the story. Such a story, with the characters that populate it, of course has some course language and topics inappropriate for younger and/or sensitive readers. There are few errors in proof reading and editing, and none that broke this reader totally out of the story.
All in all, a good read, entertaining, and not unenlightening. I do recommend it.