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xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths Paperback – September 24, 2013
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*Starred Review* Edith Hamilton, the great classicist who made Greek mythology accessible, is officially put on notice by this explosive anthology of reimagined myths. Demeter, a divorced mom, struggles with the half-year custody of her daughter. Narcissus, a tart-tongued partier, offers lodging to a bewitching street urchin named Echo. And a Vietnam veteran, in the spirit of Daedalus, builds an emotional labyrinth for his son. In this searing yet ebullient collection, contemporary authors and one graphic artist move beyond merely updating classic myths of multiple cultures by performing gut-rehabs while maintaining the stark, terrifying moments of fate-altering choices. Outsized appetites figure prominently—for power, perfection, or even one’s own children, as in the case of the Lamia-like narrator of Elizabeth McCracken’s stunning story, Birdsong from the Radio. The form is as inventive as the content. David B.’s The Veiled Prophet is a vivid, graphic serial. Imad Rahman’s The Brigadier-General Takes His Final Stand, By James Butt presents two compelling narratives, one found in the footnotes, each a clever take on Oedipus. Editor and award-winning author Bernheimer describes her anthology as a necessary farewell to the old world of myth and acknowledgment of a modern age in which humans are regarded as the new gods. But as these new myths attest, the frightening, timeless themes remain. --Carolyn Alessio
“An abundant and often impressive collection, addressing a wildly varied cast of characters.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Bernheimer . . . does a fantastic job of selecting stories—ranging from archaic and straightforward to contemporary and experimental—without repeating tone or genre. . . . xo Orpheus reads like a dream encyclopedia in which well-known faces become shuffled, obscured and reset in new surroundings. . . . Fans of mythology should have plenty of room for getting lost.” —Time Out New York
“Vastly entertaining . . . Fascinating . . . A brilliant showcase of current talent within the short story . . . From Norse, Greek, and Roman myths to Native American coyote myths, there is something for everyone to read in this anthology, and it is definitely a must-read.” —San Francisco Book Review
“In this searing yet ebullient collection, contemporary authors and one graphic artist move beyond merely updating classic myths of multiple cultures by performing gut-rehabs while maintaining the stark, terrifying moments of fate-altering choices. . . . The form is as inventive as the content. . . . Edith Hamilton, the great classicist who made Greek mythology accessible, is officially put on notice by this explosive anthology.” —Booklist, starred review
“Enthralling . . . A courageously wild declaration of a new beginning for the world's oldest form of storytelling . . . Bernheimer reignites the world of myth in her ingenious new anthology.” —Publishers Weekly
“Fascinating . . . Beautiful . . . It’s proof that the old relationship [between myth and literature] is still vital to human life.” —The Portland Mercury
“A visceral, many-faceted collection of retold myths. Bernheimer shows a deft and cohesive touch in the stories she has chosen here; it is a beautiful, sometimes sad and harrowing collection.” —Shelf Awareness
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