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xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths Paperback – September 24, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*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

Review

“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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (September 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143122428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143122425
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. GERARD on October 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
This not your grandparents' Bulfinch's Mythology. Bernhiemer has commissioned stories from contemporary writers from all around the world. Their contributions, while inspired by a "classic" myth, are wholly fresh and new. What's fascinating is that which the Ancients perceived as important or problematic, remain so even now and easily translate into modern sensibilities. Indeed, these mythologies hail from numerous cultures and shed light on every other heritage as well.

Reading fifty new myths sounds like a daunting task, and the book carries a certain amount of heft. But the beauty of a collection is that you can start anywhere. I flipped through and found that two of my favorite authors were represented and immediately checked out their tales.

Support independent reviewers -- Please read the rest of my review here: [...]
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I love the concept! I had not read the earlier collection and now I will. This version has some amazing stories - the modern Demeter stories among the best - and a couple of overly long poorly edited clunks. Worth the price though!
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As with Bernheimer's earlier anthology of retold fairy tales, this volume of retold myths exceeded expectations. First class authors creating first class comtemporary myths. A delight for both scholarship and sensibility.
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Format: Paperback
What a varied mix of stories, an eclectic reader's dream come true! From down-to-earth retellings of ancient myths to the truly bizarre, there is something for everyone in this collection. One is even in graphic novel format!

For the first half of the book, I couldn't wait to find out what experience each story held. Each story encourages the reader to read the next, and I was devouring them. However, this is a fairly hefty anthology - about 576 pages. For the second half, I found myself needing to set the book aside after a few stories, read something completely different, and then come back to it. Not out of boredom or anything like that, but more out of wanting to keep the reading fresh. As varied as these stories are, they do have the common theme of mythology, which, in its own way, can be a very specific kind of tale.

I absolutely loved the brief commentary each writer gives at the end of their work, giving insight into his or her source of inspiration, train of thought, etc. It was like having program notes for each piece. Truly fascinating.

I didn't realize there was a previous collection, so I'm going to be sure to grab a copy of My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me. Readers who enjoy magical realism in their fiction (to varying degrees) will not want to miss out on xo Orpheus.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.
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By Sarah E. on January 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
this came very easily to my kindle app, and I like it. It is not as fun to read as the other compilation I own by Kate Bernheimer, My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me. I would recommend it, however, as an interesting read. I particularly like learning about myths I knew nothing about, which is easy with an ibook.
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This book contains new reworkings of the old Greek myths. A good buy for anyon e interested in mythology as applied to today.
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Although I haven't read all of the stories, I can say that the ones I have read are truly creative and a treasure for the reader.
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