Children of Tantalus: Niobe & Pelops – ISBN-13 978-1456368906
The Road to Thebes: Niobe & Amphion – ISBN-13 978-1456415914
Arrows of Artemis: Niobe & Chloris – ISBN-13 978-1456460587
One of their favorite tricks is what Viktor Schklovsky called ostranenie: "strangemaking." They'll plop you down in a scene and let you take in its unfamiliar combination of the barbaric and the civilized, and let you get hooked on whatever thing happens to be going on, and only a beat later allow you to realize that you are indeed in the middle of a familiar scene from myth or legend -- the quiz of the Sphinx, the slaughter of the Niobids -- and seeing it for the first time. After enough of this, you realize how conveniently we imagine ancient Greeks as people just like us only costumed. The truth is wilder and weirder, and far more interesting, and the result of seeing it is that we begin to see ourselves for the first time as well.
I especially enjoy the way the authors create such realistic nodes between the rational and the mythical: things that, one sees, can easily be explained by the natural language of a modern novel but are also easily explained by the supernatural language of the mythical mind. Lesser authors would simply use this trick to rob a story of its magic, or explain away some phenomenon; with Underwood and Grossack you feel again and again as if a black-and-white photo has been made into full color.
I'll also point out that when you buy these books, which are published by CreateSpace, you're helping affirm a new relationship between author and audience that suits our new century well, and points toward a solution for revitalizing all kinds of art in a way that finally makes economic sense for both author and audience.
One of the great pleasures of civilization is to sit down with a storyteller you know will absorb and satisfy. Thanks to Underwood and Grossack, we now have several more books on our shelf that provide just that pleasure----- The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor. As a courtesy to the author, please tweet and retweet this post using this little green retweet widget :