Mythos (Stephen Fry)

Stephen Fry as writer and narrator on the Greek Mythologies is absoultuely as hilariously entertaining as it sounds. I was about to type “this is the first audio book I have finished” but then I remembered that I listened to Naomi Alderman’s The Power rather than reading it, so the aforementioned statement would, indeed, be false.

Title: Mythos
Author: Stephen Fry
Format: Audio book, narrated by Stephen Fry
Length: 15.25 Hours

(do you “listen” to an audiobook or can you say you “read” the book as well? I’ve used the terms interchangeably in this but I’m curious as to how you refer)

Greek mythology is the Original Hollyoaks. They are the greatest stories every passed into oral history, and I for one absolutely adore Greek mythology in all its dramatic and vengeful…ness (?). From the dawn of the universe, through all the sex, revenge and mutilations, through the Titains and the creation of Olympus and Zeus’s pet project: mankind. We’ve got drama, Zeus sleeping with pretty much everyone at least once and tales of mortal hubris and the Gods pride and jealously. It’s dramatic, it’s entertaining, and it is incredibly gory (on many, many occasion).

I’ve never disliked audiobooks, I just learnt as a young reader that I could read quicker than the speaker, therefore I could spend less time on a book if I simply read it myself. However, as an adult I spend a lot of time travelling, painting and crafting, so I decided to give audiobooks another go. So far, I’ve quite enjoyed myself! I picked Mythos out of the Audible (Amazon owned audiobook service) line up for several reasons:

  1. I love Greek mythology
  2. I love Stephen Fry
  3. I have been working on an entire tree’s worth of ornaments, and am currently knitting a baby blanket. Blanket squares are dull.
  4. It’s Greek mythology as told by Stephen Fry

I was expecting it to be pretty damn good. Stephen Fry has a dry wit and is choc full of mythology references at the best of times. I grew up with Stephen Fry narrating Harry Potter, so I knew the book would sound good, even if the content was (luckily not) lacking. Just so we are all aware, I absolutely loved this audio re-telling of the Greek myths. The audiobook was full of dry quips and asides. Lists felt less like lists and more like fascinating information, he referenced back to his own earlier stories, I laughed out loud on so many occasions (leaning over my knitting, please bear in mind) that someone on a bus leant over to ask what I was listening to.

The Greek myths are incredibly violent. There is murder, rape, bodily desecration, eating of children and that’s just in the first chapters. It’s violent, as the mythologies always have been – they’ve never been in line with Disney’s Hercules, and this book takes them in all their gory glory. Fry portrays them with all the added gusto of someone who clearly loves what it is they are talking about. Stephen Fry is a classicist, and it shows.

While listening to this audiobook, Stephen Fry’s sequel, Heroes, was released, looking at the (as you may have guessed) heroes of greek mythology that Mythos skates over. Mythos deals with the gods, and those who happened to fall foul of the gods – the kingdom finders, the legends that sprang up around new cities (and occasionally a continent or two) and those who suffered directly at the hands of gods. I imagine Heroes will be exploring Achilles, Perseus, Hercules and the like. I used this month’s audible credit to buy Bookworm by Lucy Mangan, and On the Front Line with Stacey Dooley, so next month’s credit has been earmarked for Heroes.

To summarise – Greek Mythology, as told by Stephen Fry, is highly entertaining and dramatic. I recommend everyone listens to it! Or at least the sample, if you don’t want to listen to 15 hours of Stephen Fry talking about Greek Mythology.

Happy Holidays!

Bea

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