Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
I am thrilled to announce that xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths, is officially out! It’s edited by the wonderful Kate Bernheimer, and offers fifty new takes on myths from lots of different traditions. Aside from my own GALATEA, you’ll find stories by Aimee Bender, Kevin Wilson, Joy Williams, Zachary Mason, Kelly Braffet and Owen King, and Max Gladstone–who does a terrific retelling of an episode from the Mahabharata. The collection has already gotten a rave review from Booklist. Myth-lovers, rejoice!
Thursday, September 5th, 2013
Delighted to announce that Library Journal gave my short story Galatea a starred review! The full text is here (my review is the last on the page).
In other news, The Guardian chose The Song of Achilles for their August book club, which included the chance to answer reader questions live for an hour. I had a great time and have never typed so fast in my life!
I’m also excited to be heading off to the Reykjavik Literary Festival next week, where I’m doing a reading and a public interview, and also taking part in the (gulp) Literary Death Match. (More details on times and places for all those on my appearances page.) One of my favorite books of the past year, Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, is set in Iceland, and will definitely be coming with me. If you haven’t read it yet, I absolutely recommend it.
As I was typing the date for this post, I realized with shock that exactly two years ago today The Song of Achilles was published for the first time by Bloomsbury in the UK. I can still remember just how nervous and thrilled I was holding the hardback in my hands. I can also remember being worried that it would never find an audience. But thanks to the loveliness and generosity of publishers, booksellers, and especially readers, it did. I am so grateful–thank you.
I wish you all a very happy start to September. After the heatwaves and humidity here in Cambridge, I admit to being eager for crisper weather!
Tuesday, August 12th, 2013
My new short story, GALATEA, based on the story of the sculptor Pygmalion, is debuting today in the US as an e-book single from Ecco, and is already out in the UK as a Kindle single with Bloomsbury. In the myth, Pygmalion falls in love with his own statue, and prays to the goddess Aphrodite for her to be brought to life. His wish is granted and the two marry. It’s a story that has inspired a number of retellings and adaptations including, most famously, George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, which became My Fair Lady.
I’ve always been fascinated by this odd myth, because it has so many resonances: the artist’s obsession with his or her own work, yearning for an unrequited love and, disturbingly, the fact that only a woman you create yourself is worthy of being your wife. It was this last idea that inspired my own version, which is narrated by Galatea, the statue-woman herself. In following this path, I was drawing primarily on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, in which Pygmalion is so disgusted by the women in his town that he begs the goddess to make his stone statue real, because only she is pure and perfect enough to be his wife.
By the way, I originally wrote the story for a myth anthology forthcoming from Penguin called XO ORPHEUS, edited by the terrific Kate Bernheimer, which has over fifty retellings of favorite myths. A definite must for myth-lovers!
Reviews“A startlingly original work of art by an incredibly talented new novelist... a book I could not put down.” Ann Patchett, author of the Orange Prize-winning Bel Canto