Marsha's Reviews > The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony

The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony by Roberto Calasso
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's review
Apr 17, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: non-fiction, history, religion-spirituality, psychology, supernatural

I’ve been a fan of Greek mythology ever since I was young. They seemed more revelatory, more adult and far more entertaining than Grimm fairy tales. So I wanted to like this book, especially since the title promised an in-depth look at two people I hadn’t dwelt on much in the more well-known myths.

But this book was so difficult for me to get a handle on that it made reading rather tiring, to be frank. Part historical treatise, part mythological tale, part storytelling at its most convoluted, “The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony” is a rambling treatise with no discernible path or plot. Wandering from one myth to another, from one metaphor to another (bull, net, crown, veil, etc.), the book meanders to the point of incoherence. To read it is to be led like a weary tourist by a garrulous tour guide taking you from one dusty, indistinguishable relic to another.

The titular marriage isn’t even mentioned until page 53 and then abruptly dismissed from the litany of stories and analyses the author imposes on them until the very end, when it is crammed together in a rush like a hasty meal thrown together by an exasperated host.

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