Stephen Fry’s Mythos retells many of the Greek myths, revealing the strangeness, humor, and violence of one of the most well known mythologies in the world. We meet gods like Zeus and Hades, as well as minor figures like Psyche and Minos. In a series of short stories, Fry explores how these characters and tales have shaped our culture and language. I listened to the audiobook of this one.
Fry is a famous actor, so it came as no surprise to me that his narration of his book is excellent. His voice is engaging and full of personality; I was never bored. More than once he made me chuckle out loud, whether because of the story itself or because of his delivery of certain lines. He is a joy to listen to.
The stories covered here vary from the famous (such as the fate of Prometheus) to the more obscure (such as the tale of Melissa), but in almost every one, Fry explains how modern words or idioms we use derive from them. This gives an interesting perspective on the power of myth and storytelling; his passion for the subject is abundantly clear. The point of this book is not only to describe these stories but to reflect on how important Greek culture has been on ours.
The dialogue he provides for the characters is also quite funny and witty. The Greek gods become recognizable or even relatable, and that is one of the greatest strengths of this book. They are not only immortals with superpowers; they have struggles just as we do, because they are the products of the human mind.
In the end, Mythos is a wildly entertaining collection of stories. Fry’s narrative voice never fails to delight, and he crafts an epic tale that still manages to be accessible to the modern audience.
Overall rating: 8.7/10