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Metamorphica

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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  237 ratings  ·  39 reviews
In the tradition of Zachary Mason’s bestselling first novel, The Lost Books of the Odyssey – where he recast episodes from Homer’s masterpiece – Metamorphica now reimagines Ovid’s epic poem of endless transformation, Metamorphoses. Just as the Roman poet reinvigorated the Greek Classical legends 700 years after Homer, so Mason now gives us a radical and exciting renovation ...more
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published August 2nd 2018 by Jonathan Cape
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Zachary Mason, who retold Homer’s story of the wanderings of Odysseus in his well-received 2007 debut novel, The Lost Books of the Odyssey, takes on Ovid‘s epic narrative poem Metamorphoses in his latest work, Metamorphica (2018). Mason distills Metamorphoses’ over 250 Greek myths into 53 brief stories, including the tales of Arachne, Daedalus and Icarus, Philemon and Baucis, Narcisssus, Achilles, Midas and many more.

Metamorphica is a loosely connected
...more
Emer (A Little Haze)
This is a stunning book. So beautifully lyrical. Gorgeous prose... But I was left cold. I think I love Ovid's Metamorphoses too much to let my heart love this too. Such a shame really because I was very much looking forward to this. And I guess the icing on the cake of disappointment was the retelling of Orpheus in the Underworld. Orpheus and Eurydice is my favourite ever Greek myth. I read it first when I was a really young girl and it just touched my soul in only the way a soul can be touched ...more
Daniel Chaikin
43. Metamorphica (audio) by Zachary Mason
Readers: Bronson Pinchot, Kevin Kenerly, Robertson Dean, Will Damron, Xe Sands, Amy Landon, Kate Reading, Robin Miles
published: 2018
format: 6:31 Libby audiobook (~181 pages, 304 pages in hardcover)
acquired: Library
listened: Aug 8-16
rating: 2

A very recent promising release with some super positive professional reviews, a beautiful hardcover (which I've only seen as pictures), and, for audio, an elaborate audiobook cast with several very good readers. I
...more
Jenia
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of this book from the publishing company Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

After having read Mason's previous book — a collection of reimaginings of the Odyssey — last year, I was very excited for his "follow-up" reimaginings of further Greco-Roman myths.Metamorphica didn't disappoint.

Metamorphica is based on the myths found in Ovid'sMetamorphoses—although not every myth found there, as the original has 15 books worth of content. Still, in the 53 short stories we get to meet characters
...more
Bandit
May 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, I'm the first one to review this, how lovely. Greek mythology, mythology in general really, is a theme I love so much, I’ll revisit in in just about any form. This was, admittedly, something of an experimental retelling/reimagining of some of the beloved myths. I wasn’t familiar with the author’s work prior to this and the description was fairly vague, but what this ended up being is a relatively short collection of myths separated by pantheon divisions and told from a psychological ...more
B. Rule
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These are haunting, elegiac pieces that use Greek and Roman myths as writing prompts. As in his earlier works, Mason is concerned with modern, Borgesian ideas of identity, paradox, and surreal desolation, and he pumps those themes back into the original stories, sometimes filling them with new life, and sometimes bursting the seams of the original. I wouldn't say all of the pieces are successful, and some of them are too slight to add much to Ovid. But they're all gracefully written and it's ...more
Niki
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it
not bad, not bad at all, but a little confusing at times - I'm a real fan of mythology, classic or other - generally I prefer when it's written like stephen fry's mythos, with a lot p tongue in cheek - as I said, not bad at all, a bit too serious maybe
Yasmin ✨
Metamorphica contains retellings of Greek and Roman myths, mostly focussing on Ovid's Metamorphoses. I had read most of the original myths before and even translated a lot of them myself. Where this book falls flat for me is how it offers a new view on each myth, but one that doesn't really make a point or even make sense. I feel like when you reimagine or rewrite a myth there should be a point to your changes. A reason. A different meaning you want to offer.

The changes made no sense to me. At
...more
Amy
Sep 08, 2018 rated it liked it
The lyricism doesn’t always hit the mark and occasionally falls painfully flat, but I like what he does with Narcissus and Clytemnestra and this exchange between Minos and Daedalus:
“Then I’ll build you a monument in stone,a colossal statue to stand by the harbor, and every man who sails into Knossos will see your face and know your name. Your fame will be written in granite.”
“My face ,” he says, “is a face like any other, and my name is a noise with no meaning.”

Best in small doses.
Victoria Wood
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full Overview, Review and Commentary over on my blog - https://girlwithnoselfie.com/metamorp...

Metamorphica is a collection of short stories based on the myths found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Though not all myths are included, Mason shares a wide variety of mythical characters and stories . Some characters are more popularly known, such as Athena, Icarus and Orpheus, and others I was meeting for the first time. Each myth was briefly introduced at the beginning of the story, and then we delve into
...more
Tom Kenis
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A poetic (f)re(e)telling of the Greek myths.
One of the best reads this year.
Emmeline
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A beautiful transfiguration-- full of sharp, fecund grace.

The author's metamorphosis of Ovid's poem is sensuous, visceral, raw, joyful, fluid. Ancient mythologies echo of Borges and Calvino, and become timelessly postmodern. While Mason's first celebrated novel "The Lost Books of the Odyssey" featured predominantly masculine voices, Metamorphica comes alive-- sings, peals, whispers, keens-- with female experience and narrative.

It's a nuanced, lyrical and above all, heartfelt work-- a novel to
...more
Jim Puskas
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have this image of Zachary Mason strolling about in a gallery of bright shiny toys, examining the hundreds of tales that Ovid left behind to amuse, edify and confound us over the past two millennia. In Mason's playful hands those stories and the gods, demigods and humans who populate them become gambling-bones, fiddle-sticks, golden coins to be tossed, to discover where they might land, what new adventures they might set loose. Some of them turn in upon themselves, becoming swallowed up by the ...more
Zachary Houle
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
What seems to be a new trend among authors is taking stories that are in the public domain and rewriting them with a modern sensibility. Daniel Mallory Ortberg did it a few months ago with his book The Merry Spinster, which refashioned old fairy tales with new twists on them. Now, Zachary Mason has turned in a book based on old Greek mythology and the writing of Ovid called Metamorphica. It’s not the first time he has done such a thing—his earlier book, The Lost Books of the Odyssey, was based ...more
Debs
I really enjoyed parts of this one. There were a couple in particular that I think would do well expanded into larger pieces and/or theater works.
Naomi Ruth
I picked this up at the library to read the story about Dionysos and was not planning on reading the whole thing. I read the first couple of pages and knew I would read every. last. word. I did not devour this book; this book devoured me. It was incredibly surreal. It was nothing I could ever write and yet... There were moments when I felt like I was reading something from a future Me. The stories wrapped themselves around me and put me in this fugue state. I loved the story of Thetis and how ...more
Kim Lockhart
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you love ancient Greek mythology, as I do, this sultry, richly textured reinterpretation of Ovid's writing will thrill you. The quality of the storytelling improves steadily, as the book progresses, and the author's endnotes are enlightening.

Mason updates the mythology by ascribing greater courage, selflessness, and integrity to the female characters than in most reimagined modern works. He paints both mortal and immortal males as petulant, passionate, and prideful, though vanity seems to be
...more
Kathy Piselli
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
My two favorites were Philemon & Baucis' story of never being parted and Herakles' slaying of the Nemean lion in which he devolves into the ancient monster he'd slain. The only thing that marred this book for me were the occassional editing mistakes (born, not borne, along - a field sewn, not sown, with salt). Bring back human proofreaders!
Stormie
I had initially started reading a physical copy of this book, but put it down to focus on school work. I read through the entirety of it via audiobook this week while at work, and was a little disappointed. Overall, while I liked some of the story changes that Mason made, I wasn't always sold on them (save for the story about Minos and Daedalus--that one got to me a bit, admittedly).
Alec
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mason derives fresh perspectives from centuries old myths, kindling (a favorite word of his) a new flame at the altar of Ovid. His telling captures emotions of loss, jubilee, and of course, transformation in the form of short stories that feel at once punctual and sweeping. For someone not totally familiar with Ovid, reviewing the older's work after Mason's is a unique experience.
Taylor Caires
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Metamorphica was beautiful and full of simple yet powerful imagery. I loved this author's take on ancient mythology and I'll let this book haunt my shelves for years to come and I'll look on it fondly and read it many times ...more
Maggie Chen
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mason has been accused of falling into the fashionable habit of 're-writing a classic book with a modern sensibility'. In fact, there's not a scrap of 'modern sensibility' here, which really would be a sin. Mason's drawing from somewhere else. I think this book is a work of genius.
Anne, Unfinished Woman
Each story told in the first person. Having just done a seminar on Ovid I did not like the journalistic style of the author, and missed the poetry.
Katie Fellows
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read in a VERY long time! So gripping from start to finish and beautifully written. The myths of Icarus, Medea, Orpheus etc really do come to life!
Priya Sharma
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I adored "The Lost Books of the Odyssey" and have a huge blind spot for Zachary Mason's work. He dissects Ovid's "Metamorphosis" and then reinvents it in surprising ways.
Nelli SilveryMoon
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My favourite is Narcissus
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
A gorgeously written collection of retellings with some fresh, interpretative twists. (Philemon & Baucis, Persephone, Atalanta, Actaeon and Narcissus were my favourites.)
Dan Rowinski
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good premise, great writing ... gets a little repetitive and bogged down by the end.
Dan
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-owned
I wanted to like this more than I did. Some of the stories were great and interesting and were a joy. Others dragged and those stories became more common as I read on. I do think this is at least partly do to my lack of familiarity of the source from Ovid. I am more familiar with Homer and enjoyed the new direction in Mason’s previous book. I hope to read more Ovid and come back to this one day.
Paul
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Please go back to sci-fi, dude.
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ACPL Online Book ...: Tales worth retelling 1 3 Jul 17, 2018 02:26PM  

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