Mythago Wood

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My kids very generously soaked my copy in water, but thankfully I didn’t have the dust jacket on at the time. You can barely tell that the cover underneath is warped.

This is a novel about two brothers, and a magical forest where the mythological figures of the collective consciousness literally come alive.

The first half of the book is a fairly exhaustive explanation of the forest and its magical inhabitants, named ‘Mythagos’, which feels fairly slow paced. It takes place primarily on a homestead on the edge of the forest, and the main character makes a point of avoiding going too far into the woods. The reader is also given quite a bit of background on the main character, his brother, and their father who had dedicated his life to studying the forest, but whose death serves as the catalyst for the events in the novel. There’s also a woman Mythago, the manifestation of the warrior princess archetype, who captures the main character’s heart and sends him hurtling helplessly into love.

The second half, which takes place in the forest itself, feels dissociative and confusing at times, heavy with mythological references and metaphors, turning this book into a very slow read for me.

However, I have forgiven all of that.

The author was seriously “tuned in” with the subject matter, and the book has a lot of metaphysical depth to it, which makes it good ‘thinking’ material. I have no doubt that this novel will leave a lasting impression, and I’m interested in reading some of the other books about this forest.

The villain is the most cold hearted bastard I’ve ever encountered in a story, and he uttered an absolutely amazing line (which won’t make any sense without context) that had me giggling with sadistic glee. His inevitable defeat came about in a way that was, frankly, unexpected.

Happy ending for most.

I feel bad for the mother, who is mentioned in passing as having committed suicide long before the events in the book take place. Poor woman.

My rating: 4/5

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