by Stephen Fry
Published by Penguin Books on 2019
Few mere mortals have ever embarked on such bold and heart-stirring adventures, overcome myriad monstrous perils, or outwitted scheming vengeful gods, quite as stylishly and triumphantly as Greek heroes.Join Jason aboard the Argo as he quests for the Golden Fleece. See Atalanta - who was raised by bears - outrun any man before being tricked with golden apples. Witness wily Oedipus solve the riddle of the Sphinx and discover how Bellerophon captures the winged horse Pegasus to help him slay the monster Chimera.Heroes is the story of what we mortals are truly capable of - at our worst and our very best.
I’m loving this so far. Stephen Fry states right up front that there are many names and lineages and begats and that the listener shouldn’t pay any attention to trying to keep track of it all – just enjoy the stories. He also adds that there are many ways to pronounce the Greek names, and he’s choosing the pronunciations that are most comfortable for his speech patters, most of which would probably make any self-respecting Greek cringe.
What he doesn’t make as clear, but is my favourite part, is that he’s telling these stories of the Greek heroes in very much his own way, his own style, with funny or witty asides. He’s chosen his source materials and sticks to the ‘facts’ of them, but the tales are liberally sprinkled with his own ad-libs, and when he does character voices, he makes no attempt to mimic anything resembling a Greek accent – there are shades of Monty Python in his character voices. I know he was never in Monty Python, but I stand by this assertion. Perhaps it’s his work with Hugh Laurie that’s showing through. I only know there’s one character I kept expecting to break out in “he’s a very naughty boy!” And I’m almost entirely certain none of the Greek heroes had Scottish accents.
This is Fry telling stories and oh, he’s so brilliant at it, I’m thoroughly loving listening to him regale me with these tales.