Two for Telling Tales Challenge

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The Hurricane Party and Mythago Wood are two  novels, I have read, recently  reinventing the myths of old.  I read them under the Telling Tales Challenge.

The Hurricane Party by Klas Ostergren

I found this gem on a charity table in the local supermarket, I love these chance buys, cannot resist them. It was a good read. I failed to realize when I began it that it was based on myth but very soon became sure.

Hanck Orn is the unlikely hero in this tale (I am also very fond of unlikely heroes) who had been married with no love discovers love with his son. He sacrifices everything for his boy Toby. It is a difficult dystopian world they live in so what he endeavors to do for his son is minimal compared to what can be done in a free country but he manages to raise a bright successful child. One indeed to be proud of.

Then Toby is murdered.

No one cares.

But Hanck cares and sets out to discover the why and the how of this dark deed. His journey to find truth and justice is slow but in an odd way beautiful and he has to travel to the Outside (and we all know how dangerous the Outside can be) Klas Ostergren has a great way with description and one doesn’t mind this slowness.

A tale of the Norse gods brought into the future very neatly, there is an extra narration within this narration, which some complain about, which relates the original mythic party, this would be a great help to the folk who do not know the Norse mythology well. I didn’t mind it a bit. The Norse gods, as with many others, are a cruel careless bunch.

From the contaminated air of his dystopian world to the invincibility of these gods, a father with a courage born of love, travels in his endeavor to, against every odd, salvage something good from his own personal grief and disaster.

It sounds gloomy, but please it is not. It’s riveting and I for one will be looking for more of Klas Ostergren

Now another read dealing with mythology for the Telling  Tales Challenge, this had been on my TBR pile for a couple of years and has at last risen to the top.

Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock

A very strange intriguing dense book, which I confess I found hard going,but I enjoyed it – just call me a masochistic:)) Rhyhope Wood the forest of the book is a primal forest which in the time honored fantasy world is infinitely larger inside than the outer circumference on a map would suggest. It is a forest with layers and circles in a maze of myths where nothing is certain except maybe insanity.

Stephen Huxley newly returned home from the Second World War to his childhood home. This is not a close knit family reunion, Stephen is an ambivalent returnee.His brother Christan is the only occupier of an isolated and decaying household. Christian, like their father before them, has grown increasingly strange and wild. Spending more and more time in the forest eventually vanishing altogether. Stephen feels forced to follow him in.

What is the (dark) magic of Rhyhope Wood? How and why are myths reincarnated within. Myths appear to be conjured up from one’s imagination, from one’s ideas. They are the product of one’s consciousness or subconscious.

Stephen is soon in the grip of these myths/hallucinations/insanity? Is he in love with Gwyneth or in love with the idea of love? Does he conquer Rhyhope or does the wood conquer Stephen? Is it even a power struggle?

This is not the easiest book to read but worth it. Like the wood itself it grows more layered, time and space expanding in all directions, concentration is needed for this dense, often philosophical and enjoyable read.

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