Metamorphica, Zachary Mason

I started to read Mason’s first book, The Lost Books of the Odyssey, a few years ago, and it quickly took its place on the small shelf of books which I had to put down because they were simply unbearably good. (This doesn’t reflect well on me as a person.) Mason is fully an heir to the John Barth tradition, and Calvino. I was able to finish Metamorphica, which I guess means it gets four stars from this reader instead of five.

I sometimes find reading the Greeks and Romans to be… unmemorable. But here Mason renders the work of Ovid and a few other sources into something frequently more urgent and striking, with stronger ironies and perversities. Probably worthwhile to read/reread Ovid before getting in to this one, so you can appreciate what liberties Mason is taking.