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3.10  ·  Rating details ·  117 ratings  ·  29 reviews
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
ebook, 224 pages
Published January 14th 2020 by Harper (first published June 13th 2019)
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Average rating 3.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  117 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Madison Griffiths
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it
There are nuggets of goodness in Fabulous, a collection of retellings of Bible stories, fairytales, and Graeco-Roman myths. However, each story lacked a kind of weightiness I found myself craving. Hughes-Hallett was ambitious in how she set out to lace folklore with contemporary spunk and modern ambience, and whilst it was an enjoyable read at times, I was left hungry. As Johanna Thomas-Corr wrote for the Guardian, “Hughes-Hallett can’t decide whether to treat the otherworldly elements literally ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fabulous is an awe-inspiring collection of short stories — refreshing retellings of age-old tales from Greek and Celtic mythology to those from the Bible. It masterfully updates them to fit in with our contemporary world and does so in such an engaging and eminently readable manner. Of course, it suffers from the same problems as all anthologies — they are not all to the same standard, however, they are each beautifully written and fascinating; jumping from one tale to another was great fun and ...more
Madeleine (Top Shelf Text)
[Thank you to Harper Books for my free review copy!]

I love short story collections, and I thought that this one would be an absolute hit for me because each story is a fractured version of original myths from Roman/Greek tradition or the Bible. It turns out that almost every single story in the collection was totally over my head. I couldn't invest in it because I spent most of my reading time thinking, "What is the heck is going on here?" I had high hopes for this one but it just wasn't the rig
Luke Hartman
It was like this lady wanted to write for Once Upon A Time, they turned her down so she tried to make her work fit for Black Mirror, who turned her down also, so then she decided to cobble it together in a book that was so obtuse and superfluous it barely made sense.

There were two character twists that made me chuckle - hence the two stars.
Fabulous is a collection of short stories. Each story is retelling of old Greek mythology and Bible stories into how these stories might have happened if they were set in Britain 2019. I had very high hopes for this collection, even though I didn't know all the Greek stories, Hallett gives a summary of them so you are able to follow with the re-telling. I felt that each retelling wasn't as refreshing, spunky and packing much punch. Overall I felt the stories were lacking.
Lindsey K
Mar 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Beautifully written, memorable short stories. Every one of them has a dark edge. I grew a little tired of the book with the last two stories to go, but I read them anyway and liked them. I would have given this four stars if it had been about two stories shorter.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘There are, as there always are, several ways of understanding the story.’

This is an enjoyable collection of re-tellings of stories, ranging from Greek and Celtic myths to the Bible. As ever in a collection of short stories some are stronger than others; for me the most successful re-workings were the ones about Orpheus and Eurydice, and about Tristan and Isolde. All of them are set in modern times, which in itself causes a slight jarring when the names are, mostly, unchanged. There are some nic
May 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, arc-eweiss, jan-2020
While the earlier retelling of Orpheus and Psyche are clever and relevant to today's society, later tales lack their subtlety and the subtext is extremely heavy-handed. ...more
Ward of Books
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of ancient myths
Surprisingly, I liked Fabulous more than I thought I would; ancient myths isn't something I have indulged in before but it was great—would I feel the same had Lucy Hughes-Hallett not decided to include summaries of the ancient fables? I don't know.

The book consists of eight short stories, each retelling ancient myths with modern reconstructions. As I said, I relied on the summaries a lot; I was only familiar with three of the short stories: Joseph, Mary Magdalen (probably through my own religiou
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous is a collection of short stories that retell famous myths in modern Britain, twisting ancient tales into relatable modern snippets. Orpheus, Psyche, Tristan and Isolde, the Pied Piper, and Mary Magdalen are just some of the figures given fresh new versions of their stories, mixing criminal gangs, immigration, estate agents, pest control, love and more.

The stories are knowing and witty, using observations and comments on modern society to try and make these very famous tales fresh. As ex
This is an enjoyable collection, and again (after her novel Peculiar Ground) marks Lucy Hughes-Hallett out as an author worth watching. However, I also found many of the stories a little disappointing: she takes several well-known myths/legends (Orpheus, Tristram & Isolde, Joseph & Mary, the Pied Piper etc) and uses them as the basis for her stories, but instead of riffing on them in interesting ways, these are by and large straight retellings in modern dress, which means not only do some of the ...more
Kathleen Gray
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This collection follows the current trend of updating classic Greek, Roman, and Bible stories to the modern day and language. Regular readers of this genre know that the stories are sometimes more successful if the reader knows only the basic outlines of the original so that there's less to argue with. Hughes-Hallett has provided snippets before each story so that the casual reader can appreciate the classic and view her story with some background. The modern tales are set in the present day UK. ...more
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobooks
I am a huge sucker for adaptations of Greek myths and fairytales and just about anything of that ilk, so I slapped a hold on this book the first I heard of it. And wow! Disappointing does not begin to cover it. The author somehow simultaneously tries way too hard to make modern tales out of these ancient stories and does not try hard enough to make them relevant to modern ears. I kept forgetting any of it was supposed to be occurring in the present day.

That said, the retelling of Actaeon was do
I'm happy I requested this book because it was an interesting read.
I liked the way the author tell contemporary stories based on mythical or biblical ones.
Not all the story are at the same level but they're all engaging and fascinating.
My favourite was the one inspired by Tristan and Isolde, I found it enthralling and fascinating.
I look forward to reading other books by this author.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Beth Younge
This was a really well written and interesting collection of stories. All areas of stories are covered and the range of retellings was well picked. I can't think of a story in this that was bad and I can't wait to reread this in the future. Hughes-Hallett is a fascinating writer and she has a great way constructing and exploring the themes that feature in the original stories.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Dan Simon
Mar 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
This was one of those books that made me feel dumb, like there was something I was missing. I started reading the summary in the back for each story before starting the next chapter, but that didn’t help much. Sometimes I read a paragraph over and over again and still have no idea what was being said. One story flipped confusingly between regular and full italicized sections - were they different points of view? Different characters? I still don’t know. This book was clearly not meant for me.
Jan 26, 2020 rated it did not like it
I’m sad to say this was just very not for me. I felt like I was reading someone’s schoolwork that they’d be unwillingly forced to write. I’ve never picked up any myth retelling writing before and truly all this work tried was “retell” with a dutifully reskinned myth without any reimagining of themes or characters.
Lovely Loveday
Fabulous: Stories by Lucy Hughes-Hallett is an intriguing and inspiring collection of short-stories that are sure to tug at your heartstrings and make you think. Short-stories that are interesting and absorbing that once you start reading you will not want to put this one down. 
Oct 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting and unusual set of short stories that challenges you to re-imagine myths and legend in modern settings. Some of them were a bit hard to place, so it was reassuring to read the overview of the myths at the end of the book.
Katie Haden
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
I really tried, but I couldn't get into it. Massive fan of ancient stories and mythology so I should have had no problem, but the stories felt deliberately vague and like they were trying to be clever. ...more
Ralph Castillo
A very interesting take on classical stories. It made me think!
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
DNF @ p28
Rosie Springett
Really enjoyed Orpheus, Acteon, Psyche and Tristan. I dont know too much about Greek myth so I wasn't trying to unpack each story, some did go over my head though! ...more
DNF, did not get it
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Myths and legends played out in modern settings. Perfectly alright but nothing new or breathtaking.
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: incomplete-reads
Ugh, just couldn't get into it! ...more
Imie (mythicreader)
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, mythic
Thank you to Fourth Estate for sending this wonderful collection my way. Fabulous immediately excited me when I found out it was based off a wide range of mythology and folklore. You all know how much I love retellings so I knew I had to read it.

As will all short story collections, you find yourself gravitating to some more than others. I absolutely adored the one based off the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, I found the new take on Psyches story intriguing, and I really enjoyed the new take on Tr
Miles Row
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked the language and parts of the plots but it mirrors folk tales in being quite simplistic so is not for everyone.
rated it did not like it
Jul 03, 2020
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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
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