Thursday, December 26, 2013

This Will Teach You Not To Offend the Gods

The Golden Ass
Original Title: Metamorphoses – Asinus Aureus

by Apuleius
Translator: Robert Graves

Review by Zorena

Five Stars


The story of The Golden Ass is that of Lucius Apuleius, a young man of good birth who encountered many strange adventures while disporting himself along the roads to Thessaly. Not the least of these occurred when Apuleius offended a priestess of the White Goddess, who turned him into an ass. The tale of how Apuleius dealt with this misfortune and eventually resumed human form is conveyed by Robert Graves in modern English.

My Review

I'll admit it. I like Robert Graves historical fictions and translations. I think it's because he manages to keep any humour found in them rather then make them just dry translations.

If you have no sense of the absurd this book is not for you. Go read the Iliad. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy the Iliad. I did! I'm just saying this is not your average ancient literature. This book is stuffed with more violence and sex then most summer movies but it's done in such a way as to not glorify either.

The unstructured telling of various tales woven into a grander story works remarkably well. I already knew the story of Cupid and Psyche but I enjoyed it as part of a larger scheme.

I'll also admit it could have perhaps ended better but I can see why it did. Most occurrences were attributed to the gods and goddesses then. They seemed to have a hand in everything from birth till death. The Greek and Roman worship of Isis was far different then the Egyptian's and I think the choice of those deities suited this story. So the five stars stand.

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