Animation by Kayelle Allen at The Author's Secret
Monday, April 18, 2016
Saturday, April 2, 2016
Anyone who has followed my blog will know what enormous respect I have for author Jenny Twist, whose first novel Domingo's Angel still sits at the top of my favourite stories ever. She's produced many short stories since then, but only one other novel, All in the Mind. Now at last, the long-awaited third novel has arrived. Here is my review of it:
The Owl Goddess
The Owl Goddess
I confess here and now to being a fully signed-up member of author Jenny Twist’s fan club. Everything she writes is a delight to read, so when I received an ARC of her latest story, I knew I was in for a pleasurable read. The Owl Goddess is quite a departure from her usual genres, and I admit to having mixed feelings at first, but these quickly disappeared when I started reading.
I was immersed from the start in this innovative mixture of gods and heroes from Greek myths hurtled into the unknown by a mishap in space to deal with a whole set of new problems posed by a new environment that included minor deities and heroes. It made for a very entertaining mix and plenty of excitement from the very first page. When Twist throws the most famous gods and heroes such as Zeus, Athena, Prometheus, Pandora, Atlas, Apollo, Artemis and all the rest into a big modern melting pot, you have to expect the unexpected! But the result is delightful.
The sympathetic—and often amusing—way the deities are characterised and humanised is inspired. Each one keeps his/her recognisable traits from the ancient stories, but takes on more human aspects to account for some of their quirks and idiosyncrasies. I especially enjoyed the strong female deities taking ownership of their traditional roles and adding their own personal, feminine touches.
The use of modern colloquialisms made them accessible, endearing and highly entertaining. I loved the portrayal of the three feisty ‘A’ females: Artemis, Aphrodite and Athena. They kept the action moving forward in a very human way as well as milking every opportunity to add humour and interest to the story through their unique personalities. Permeating their stories is a rather poignant, coming of age love story to which just about anyone of any age can relate.
All in all, I think this is an inspired story, engrossing, entertaining and beautifully written. Jenny Twist is a great story-teller and I can see this having an appeal to all ages as a new way to visit classical mythology in a novel, informative and engaging way.
No prizes for guessing how many cute cats I award this!
About the Author:
Jenny Twist was born in York and brought up in the West Yorkshire mill town of Heckmondwike, the eldest grandchild of a huge extended family.
She left school at fifteen and went to work in an asbestos factory. After working in various jobs, including bacon-packer and escapologist’s assistant (she was The Lovely Tanya), she returned to full-time education and did a BA in history, at Manchester and post-graduate studies at Oxford.
She stayed in Oxford working as a recruitment consultant for many years and it was there that she met and married her husband, Vic.
In 2001 they retired and moved to Southern Spain where they live with their rather eccentric dog and cat. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, knitting and attempting to do fiendishly difficult logic puzzles.
She has written two novels - Domingo’s Angel – a love story set in Franco’s Spain and harking back to the Spanish Civil War and beyond - and Allin the Mind – a contemporary novel about an old woman who mysteriously begins to get younger
She has contributed short stories to many other anthologies, of which two – Doppelganger and Uncle Vernon have been released as short ebooks.
Other works include the Mantequero series: novellas about a Spanish mythological figure, and An Open Letter to Stephen King & Other Essays, a compilation of non-fiction essays and articles.
Her new novella, The Minstrel Boy, will be published in the anthology Letters from Europe in the spring of 2016.
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