29 May 2008

Dream Angus

Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams
Alexander McCall Smith
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Canongate U.S. (July 27, 2007)

Dream Angus is part of a multi-author series, "The Myths", in which contemporary authors retell various myths. Loving Smith's other works, and being fascinated by Celtic mythology, I thought this would be a winner. I was wrong.

Smith's format is to tell the myth of Angus side by side (actually chapter by chapter) with short stories. Each short story has an incident, theme or something else connecting it to the previous chapter about Angus' life.

While the idea was stunning, the result was very unsatisfying.

There is only one memorable character, Bodb; he is the only one in the myth that is given any personality. So many lovely opportunities to flesh out a myth, to make the gods human, is missed. With the exception of Bodb, it reads more like a straight telling out of a Bullfinch type anthology, instead of a retelling.

The accompanying short stories are drab and, though emotion is intended, they just don't fulfill that promise. The ending, again intended to be emotional and fulfilling, quite frankly left me cold and disappointed.

Overall, it was a poor effort on Smith's part--in a hurry to meet the deadline?--and I was glad this is not my first time reading him, or I wouldn't again.

this was read as the Mythology part of my Once Upon a Time quest. View my progress here



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