- 224 Pages
- On-Sale Date: 01/14/2020
- ISBN: 9780062940094
- Trim Size: 5.500in x 8.250in x 0.810in
From the author of the “sophisticated and erudite” Peculiar Ground (Boston Globe), comes a collection of classic, witty fables, elegantly updated for our modern times.
It's in the nature of myth to be infinitely adaptable.
Each of these startlingly original stories is set in modern Britain. Their characters include a people-trafficking gang-master and a prostitute, a migrant worker and a cocksure estate agent, an elderly musician doubly befuddled by dementia and the death of his wife, a pest-controller suspected of paedophilia and a librarian so well-behaved that her parents wonder anxiously whether she’ll ever find love.
They’re ordinary people, preoccupied, as we all are now, by the deficiencies of the health service, by criminal gangs and homelessness, by the pitfalls of dating in the age of #metoo. All of their stories, though, are inspired by ones drawn from Graeco-Roman myth, from the Bible or from folk-lore.
The ancients invented myths to express what they didn’t understand. These witty fables, elegantly written and full of sharp-eyed observation of modern life, are also visionary explorations of potent mysteries and strange passions, charged with the hallucinatory beauty and horror of their originals.
Lucy Hughes-Hallett is the author of The Pike: Gabriele D’Annunzio, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Duff Cooper Prize, the Political Book Award for Political Biography of the Year, and the Costa Biography Award; Cleopatra: Histories, Dreams and Distortions, which won the Fawcett Prize and the Emily Toth Award; and Heroes: Saviours, Traitors and Supermen. She lives in London.
“Clever…Hallett forges novel situations for her quirky characters, and each retelling works well as a modern story in its own right.” - Publishers Weekly