Mythago Wood by Robert HoldStock

BAYLOR

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Unlike any book I had ever read before . It's one that I recommend frequently Yet when I try to explain to them what it's about, I draw a compete blank and lock up , not because it made no impression in me, on the contrary it made quite an impression on me . in the book you have The Huxley's Stephen and Christian , The mythago woman Gwyneth who lives in magical Woods called Ryhope along many other mythical beings both wonderful and terrible in particular the Urscumug . Ryhope is place that can bend time ,space and reality within without .


This book has so many elements. It's easy to enjoy as a reader but difficult to explain . At least for me it was.

Thoughts on this book and style and concept?
 
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J-Sun

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Annoying pedantic note: I think it's "Wood". :)

Um, yeah, it's a hard-to-describe book which includes "generational saga/mystery", historical fiction, mythology, and, extremely interestingly to me, science. I liked the rational exploratory angle the book took in its making mythology and the collective unconscious and history/myth concrete in the symbol/device of the Wood. It eventually breaks the bounds of rationality, of course, but it takes that approach and, outside the wood - well outside - it's still (in the modern sections of the story) the modern real world. I can't remember the plot too clearly but I think there were both internal threats (in the sense of the protagonist becoming involved with what was going on inside) but also the traditional "incursion" motif as the Wood threatened to break into the "real world" - am I recalling that correctly? (It's been eons since I read it.) Anyway. yeah, it's a book most any fantasy or SFF fan would love, I'd think, and should even interest SF fans. It feels fresh - it deals with very old concepts in a very new way - it doesn't feel like a rehash of the usual tropes even though it's not at all divorced from them. So I agree with the "unlike any book" thing.

For myself, I didn't utterly love it because it's not directly exactly my kind of thing (and I even stupidly got rid of my copy after keeping it for years in an overzealous minimalizing binge) but I certainly enjoyed it and think it's "recommendable". I will say, though, that as fresh as it was, it seemed to trap the author and cease being fresh, in that Lavondyss was a less good sequel - still fine, but not necessary, and I believe I read another sequel (there were several) that I didn't really like. (I think it was that, and getting rid of those, that sort of led to a negative drag that pulled Mythago Wood, itself, out of my collection when it shouldn't have.)
 

Ray McCarthy

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I enjoyed it. Also there is "The Hollowing", which I have too. It's a good while since I read these two.
I think remind me a little of Alan Garner.
 

The Judge

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Annoying pedantic note: I think it's "Wood". :)
Second annoying pedantic note, the Mytho was a mistype, too. :p Title now amended.

I read the book only last year after it had come highly recommended to me. My thoughts at the time:
I really wanted to like this book – I love myth, I love legends, I love reading of the wildwood – but I was left, if not utterly cold by it, then certainly tepid. With one exception I found the characters, even the first-person narrator, somewhat distant and unengaging and I wasn't interested in their fate, not helped by the fact the main female character is quite literally male wish-fulfilment, and, naturally, an object of jealous rivalry and therefore the cause of widespread, though largely off-screen, death and destruction. For me, the plot was too slow, not to say plodding, and the quest not worth the journey, and while not badly written, it was never spell-binding in its use of language or imagery which might otherwise have won me over.
 

Randy M.

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Unlike any book I had ever read before . It's one that I recommend frequently Yet when I try to explain to them what it's about, I draw a compete blank and lock up , not because it made no impression in me, on the contrary it made quite an impression on me . in the book you have The Huxley's Stephen and Christian , The mythago woman Gwyneth who lives in magical Woods called Ryhope along many other mythical beings both wonderful and terrible in particular the Urscumug . Ryhope is place that can bend time ,space and reality within without .


This book has so many elements. It's easy to enjoy as a reader but difficult to explain . At least for me it was.

Thoughts on this book and style and concept?
I was annoyed by the writing for about 20-25 pages, finding the prose clunky and the set-up awkward.

And then my critical mind shut down and the novel abducted my attention for the next few days: When I put it down, I couldn't wait to pick it up again, the story flowed and I followed.

I haven't read the succeeding volumes but have them. It's been long enough, though, that I'll have to revisit Mythago Wood first.

Anyway, much of what others have said works for me: It's a fantasy novel that explores myth and story, that taps into the power of myth about the primeval forest, and that at times may echo Arthur Machen (I'm taking the word of critics on that; while I think I see some glimmerings, I haven't read deeply enough in Machen's work to say for sure on my own).


Randy M.
 

Mangara

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Oh this all sounds promising as it's sat on my TBR shelf :) As a fan of myth and story the comments here please me greatly!
 

BAYLOR

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I was annoyed by the writing for about 20-25 pages, finding the prose clunky and the set-up awkward.

And then my critical mind shut down and the novel abducted my attention for the next few days: When I put it down, I couldn't wait to pick it up again, the story flowed and I followed.

I haven't read the succeeding volumes but have them. It's been long enough, though, that I'll have to revisit Mythago Wood first.

Anyway, much of what others have said works for me: It's a fantasy novel that explores myth and story, that taps into the power of myth about the primeval forest, and that at times may echo Arthur Machen (I'm taking the word of critics on that; while I think I see some glimmerings, I haven't read deeply enough in Machen's work to say for sure on my own).


Randy M.

It's book that you can easily get lost in.
 
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Stephen Palmer

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A really wonderful novel. The sequels are pretty great too, though, inevitably, there is a diminishing returns effect. But MW is a masterpiece, I think.
 

Zoe Mackay

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It's book that you can easily get lost in.
Like the characters in it do, wot?

It's a genuine piece of grown-up fantasy, uncertain about and questioning the genre and the axioms behind it, while being a really enjoyable story at the same time. The sequels are less good, I think.
 

J-Sun

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Yes, I agree. I didn't get much out of Avalon, the sequel, but I liked Mythago Wood a lot.
Lavondyss? I don't know any Avalon.

Good review - I thought the "there is none of the slightly drippy New Age quality", "[d]espite its comparatively short length and few characters, Mythago Wood appears epic, owing to the size of the discoveries that the characters make and the drastic effects that they have", and "neither imitates nor rails against The Lord of the Rings" were particularly good points.

I will say, though, that as fresh as it was, it seemed to trap the author and cease being fresh, in that Lavondyss was a less good sequel - still fine, but not necessary, and I believe I read another sequel (there were several) that I didn't really like.
Just to clarify, the "other sequel" was the third novel, The Hollowing. A law of sharply diminishing returns on those three. And there was a Mythago collection between novels 2 and 3 plus two more novels that I never read.
 

Toby Frost

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Thanks - although I've heard the LOTR one somewhere else before.

The book I read was actually called Avilion, and its cover said that it was a direct sequel to the events of Mythago Wood. I thought it was a bit too weird, to be honest. For some reason, Odysseus showed up, which seemed pretty odd given the setting. It was as though the balance wasn't quite right.
 

J-Sun

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Ah, learn something new every day. So there's a total of at least seven books in the series. Odd that there was apparently a gap of a dozen years between the previous MW and that one (it seems it was the last written but, like you say, second in internal chronology) and that it came out immediately prior to his death.

Oh, and speaking of Odysseus, it seems like he shows up in one of the others - don't remember which. It's reasonable in that the Wood is kind of metaphysical and encompasses all things, sort of, but is odd in that it's pretty Celt/Anglo-centric, nonetheless, and Odysseus ain't that. I want to say it was something about a river journey but the memories are way too fuzzy for me to say.
 

Zoe Mackay

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On a side note, I met Robert Holdstock once. Lovely chap, complete beer monster.
 

Ray McCarthy

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I do generally prefer reading in written order rather than story internal chronology, unless the author is strong suggesting a different order.
 

BAYLOR

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Mythago Woods, A book that should be celebrated and not forgotten . :)
 
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