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xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths

(New Fairy Tales #2)

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3.48  ·  Rating details ·  541 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Fifty leading writers retell myths from around the world in this dazzling follow-up to the bestselling My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me.

Icarus flies once more. Aztec jaguar gods again stalk the earth. An American soldier designs a new kind of Trojan horse—his cremains in a bullet. Here, in beguiling guise, are your favorite mythological figures alongside chara
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Paperback, 531 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Penguin Books
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3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  541 ratings  ·  89 reviews


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karen
Aug 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
this book is a collection of stories by authors i have read before, authors whose books i own but have never gotten around to actually reading, and authors i have never heard of before.

and like all anthologies, this is a good way to get a crash course on the lot of them. but also true of anthologies, it is a mixed bag in terms of "their appeal to me," of course keeping in my mind that when authors are asked to write within a particular theme, it might not be a true introduction to their general
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Ben Loory
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
i have a story in this book called "The Squid Who Fell in Love with the Sun."

BUT THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHY I'M GIVING IT FIVE STARS
Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship
thank you, penguin group!

xo Orpheus is a potpourri of different takes on myths. Some are ordinary life mishaps and happenings that draw parallel from old folktales; some are direct takes on the myths in contemporary life with all the weirdness and magic incorporated; still others are jumble of all things new and old, magic and not, wherein it seems the authors themselves get hopelessly lost while telling the stories. In some forest, on a chariot, burning the world or fallen angels, stealing godl
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Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Today, I have to write a review I don’t really want to. See, there are negative reviews and negative reviews. Sometimes a negative review is really satisfying, because the book was, at least by your own estimation, perfectly horrid and/or rage-inducing. Times like today, though, the book is quite good in its own way, but that doesn’t happen to be a way that coincides so much with your taste. I always feel so bad when this happens with a review book, because I feel like I should have known better ...more
Rebecca Lunny
Like any collection, XO Orpheus had some really strong moments and just a few stories that didn't particularly appeal to me.

"Sawdust" by Edward Carey, "Labyrinth" by Ron Currie, Jr., "Henry and Booboo" by Elanor Dymott, and "Drona's Death" by Max Gladstone were some of the standout pieces in this collection.
black lamb
NOTE: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Which was, like, ages ago, and I read it and wrote a review, and then fell off the face of the earth in a pit of depression, so um, sorry! Also, this review contains spoilers!

I should make a resolution of some kind to read more anthologies. That was part of the thought that was in my head when I requested a copy of this from the publisher to review: I should read more anthologies. I picked one up on a whim earlier this y
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Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
Lots of promise, but didn't do it for me.

Introduction - 3/5: Interesting muse on what's happened. We now know what controls things, unlike our ancestors, so we don't need myths. We've become the gods in the myths. Which is mostly true. The only question is, when will what we create destroy us, just as we destroyed the gods of the past?

Anthropogenesis, Or: How to Make a Family - 2.5/5: Okay...? Meh. Just... meh. I felt the deeper meaning there, but it just wasn't hitting me that much. Then again,
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TinHouseBooks
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-we-love
Thomas Ross (Editorial Assistant): Sometimes it’s just happenstance and the good taste of others that leads you to something new and amazing. This month I read for review xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths, Kate Bernheimer’s anthology of contemporary fiction writers writing new/to/through classic myths and mythological subjects. Anthologies are difficult to review, but this one gave me plenty to write about, due in no small part to Kate Bernheimer’s introduction, which is thoughtful, illuminating, and— ...more
Cheryl
Oct 13, 2013 rated it liked it
I am not familiar with all of the myths in this collection. However I did have an enjoyable time reading this book. To be honest I did not read all of the stories. This is one of those books that you can randomly pick a few stories to read at a time and go back to reference to other stories again and again.

The stories in this book may seem like new twists on old, classic myth stories but they are not. Well not really in a way. They may be new from the ones you are familar with but the stories a
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Sally
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book, a collection of modern takes on old myths. A few of the stories shined, but most of them were only ok, and a few I didn't even finish. Many of the stories were detached, ironic, and dark, but without the sense of grandeur and wonder of the original myths.

Many of the authors drew on Greco-Roman mythology, but there were also stories from other traditions. In fact, my favorite story in the book was a retelling of an episode from the Mahābhārata. I've never read the
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Pamela Scott
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres...

This is one of the best collections of contemporary short stories I’ve read in ages. I love myths so the odds of me liking this book were pretty high. Usually anthologies have a couple of weaker stories in them that sort of blend in, unnoticed with the rest. This wasn’t the case for Xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths. Every story is fantastic. It was a sheer pleasure to read. Xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths covers an impressive range of styles and genres like a huge
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Joel
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh my, this book was great. It is nice to read short stories sometimes, they take less dedication but are just as rewarding. These stories were great, some of them I liked more than others, but ultimately I can recommend this to all friends of magical stories. Some stories are very rough and so sometimes reading felt quite tough, but I'm happy I picked this up.
ellie
Apr 04, 2018 marked it as to-read
i can’t believe i have to read this just bc Madeline Miller has a story in it...just kidding, I can totally believe that
Jonathan
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, short-stories
Thanks, NetGalley!

This is a short story collection of myths rewritten by a bunch (re: 50) of authors. I have a strong interest in mythology, so this seemed like a great idea. And certainly there were parts of it that were a great idea. But it's a big collection (50 stories and almost 600 pages); not every story was interesting or well-done. I will confess that I skipped through quite a few of the tales, especially if the original myth was one I didn't know (which accounts for a large percentage
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Taryn
Sep 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I read xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths, edited by Kate Bernheimer, last year, and am only getting around to reviewing it now. Usually I try to force myself to write my responses to what I’ve read no more than a week after I’ve finished it; I’m a fast, enthusiastic reader, but I have a terrible memory and will often struggle to recall plot points, or character names, or anything deeper than a surface recollection. (Is it true playing Sudoku helps improve memory? If so, I need to get on that…but I’ll ...more
Alice
I'm a big fan of fairy tale and mythology retellings. I generally like to see different people's takes on these familiar tales, and how they might be affected by a modern mindset. So, when I saw this on NetGalley, I grabbed it for review. I was in no way compensated for reviewing this title, and the review copy is formatted to discourage duplication. I think I would be less disappointed if I'd paid money to read this. I wound up forcing myself to get through it so I could offer a fair review.

Of
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Kandace
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Anthologies are a different sort of beast from what I typically review. In fact, I rarely read anthologies. At least I haven't read one since my undergrad days and the cumbersome Norton anthologies that entailed. But xo Orpheus is far from the literary canon that usually is included in anthologies: fifty authors, fifty new takes on mythological tales.

I personally love the idea of a short story anthology. The contributions are bite-sized meaning you can read one or two and walk away for a bit an
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Monika
Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted on my blog, A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall:

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 -
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Sarah
Jul 24, 2014 rated it liked it
I did like this book. It was very dense and a bit cumbersome to read, though. Many of the stories are absolute works of art, blending literal symbolism and abstract ideas in the best way. I feel that the summary given here as well as the introduction promised something completely different than what was delivered, as many of the stories were only loosely based on myths (or sometimes folklore and fairytales—maybe a few stories that didn't make it into Kate Bernheimer's previous compilation? Not s ...more
Martta
After some difficulties (i.e. having initially received a copy missing some pages) I could read this collection of short stories. I found it because Madeline Miller wrote a story for it, and I really love The Song of Achilles.
Miller's story, Galatea, was not the worst, but I did not love it either. I suppose it was good, but dark, and I didn't like the sense of despair.

I had expected many of the stories to take place in a more mythological setting, but most of them were set in a modern world. I
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Katie Cunningham
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A diverse selection of short stories, all based in some respect on the idea of myths. Some directly reference myths, while others work with more general concepts, like transformation. Many are accessible, though there are a few that are more experimental / strange.
Daisy
Sep 22, 2016 rated it liked it
why can I never finish short story collections? anyway, started off okay then got really good then okay and now I am sick and tired of short stories
Leah Rachel von Essen
I was excited for XO Orpheus edited by Kate Bernheimer. I really enjoyed My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, the collection of adapted / “new” fairy tales that she edited—this one was instead based on mythology.

I think this collection could have used better curation from Bernheimer to be shorter and better. When you’re going to release a 531-page collection of short stories, ideally they should be unified. Myth is too wide a theme to do that work for Bernheimer—connecting a smart rete
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Crystal
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
this book was kind of hard to get through because not every story is good, which is something I didn't expect I spose.. probably because the only other short story anthologies i've read are exclusively by neil gaiman and he own my ass
anyways i probably should have seen it coming.. but I didn't lmao and it took me FOREVER to finish this because i kept getting put off by mediocre stories and not picking it up again.. so i wouldn't recommend it EXCEPT there are 2 stories in here that are so worth r
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Katelyn Hanvey
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Overall I enjoyed this anthology. Some of the stories were excellent, some were good, a few were difficult to get through, but in general they were all enjoyable. Below is my individual rating of each story:

Anthropogenesis, Or: How to Make a Family - 4.5
Argos - 4.5
The Sisters - 5
Sawdust - 3.5
Friend Robin - 4.5
The Veiled Prophet - 5
Henry and Booboo - 4
Modern Coyote - 3
Devourings - 5
Labyrinth - 4.5
The Last Flight of Daedalus - 5
Daphne - 3.5
Demeter -3.5
Kid Collins - 3
Sleeping Beauty - 4
Galatea - 5
T
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Katy
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Okay yes I did just check this book out from the library so I could read the short story by Madeline Miller in it about Galatea, the name given to the marble statue that the artist Pygmalion made and who Aphrodite brought to life. And wow in that short story I was not disappointed! Such a beautiful and feminist take on that story. I also enjoyed many of the rest of them, but it was difficult to read more than a few at once because it was clear how much all of the stories were inspired by myths i ...more
Sarah
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you're interested in mythology, xo Orpheus is definitely worth a try. I wouldn't say it's necessarily a book for everyone, and I didn't enjoy all of the short stories in it, but as a concept I do like it and think that it was well done. It's essentially a collection of myths retold- some replicating or very close to the original story, some less obvious- each with a little explanation from the author of how the story pertains to its particular myth. Each story also informs the reader of which ...more
Keihi
Jun 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
Okay, I REALLY hate to leave a book unfinished, but I just can't subject myself to this any longer, because this book makes me feel like I don't like reading. So, yeah, DNF at 33%, 0/10 wouldn't recommend.
I mean, most of this stories don't feel like they are even stories, just something unfinished and possibly rejected by other projects. This has absolutely nothing to do with myth retellings, so don't let the description fool you. If the goal of the anthology was to violently murder mythology,
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Jan Lynch
A mixed-bag of stories. My favorite selections were clever, funny, or ironic updates of mythology. I particularly enjoyed "Sawdust," "Galatea," and "Birdsong from the Radio"--although that one is odd enough that it might not be for every reader. Which brings me to the next category of stories: some selections were vague, strange, repetitive, or opaque, and their connection to source mythology was mysterious. So, while I'd recommend this volume to fans of mythology, I'd say that not every story w ...more
Dearna (Words of the Roses)
Like with most anthologies, there were some stories I loved and others that didn't gel with me. I still love the concept behind this books and really loved getting to read the writer's retellings and also their inspiration behind it.

My favourites of the collection are:
Sawdust by Edward Carey
Modern Coyote by Shane Jones
Drona's Death by Max Gladstone
Lost Lake by Emma Straub and Peter Straub
What Wants My Son by Kevin Wilson
A Horse, a Vine by Johanna Skibsrud
The Hungers of an Old Language by B
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Kate Bernheimer is the author of three novels and the story collection Horse, Flower, Bird, as well as children's books. Among other books, she edited the World Fantasy Award winning My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales and the forthcoming xo Orpheus: 50 New Myths.

Other books in the series

New Fairy Tales (2 books)
  • My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales
“What is the deepest loss that you have suffered? If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine. —from Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29 Rainer Maria Rilke” 2 likes
“Not comforting to see pain and death but just to see what she could not let herself imagine and therefore ruled her.” 0 likes
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