ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Devdutt Pattanaik is a well-known Indian mythologist, author, illustrator and speaker.
Pattanaik was born in Mumbai on December 11, 1970. He did his MBBS from the Grant Medical College in Mumbai. He became a full-time author after working in the healthcare industry for fourteen years.
Pattanaik has authored many books in the areas of mythology, religion and management. Some of his more popular works include Myth = Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology, Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana, and Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata. He also works as a columnist for many major newspapers and websites, besides serving as the host of a radio show/podcast for Radio Mirchi.
Olympus: An Indian Retelling of the Greek Myths begins with the author’s commentary on the linear structure of Greek mythology. He expounds on its similarity with the other religions and cultures that succeeded it. He also delves into its differences from Indian mythology and philosophy.
The book essentially starts off as a conversation between Alexander the Great and a Gymnosophist, with the former talking about Greek mythology.
Following the story of the birth of Zeus, the author explains his fight with the Titans and how he became the leader of all Gods.
This is followed by sections on Minos, Oedipus, Heracles and Jason, wherein the author takes the opportunity to introduce various other characters besides the key characters. The Greek epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, have been included under the section Helen and Odysseus. Aeneas is the final section of the book.
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT OLYMPUS
Olympus is a good book for those who are starting to get acquainted with Greek mythology. Not only does it cover all the major and minor characters of ancient Greek mythology, but also discusses the major events involving these characters. The book is rather comprehensive in that the author has attempted to cover all the prominent and supporting characters from Greek mythology, either as part of the narration or in the book’s special sections. In view of this, Olympus can be a good reference guide for those wishing to know the who’s who of Greek mythology.
Another aspect we found intriguing is that the author has included a lot of comparisons of Greek characters and events with the mythological characters and events from other pagan cultures. In his signature style, Pattanaik has drawn parallels between Indian and Greek mythologies. Myths and fun facts from other cultures are also included in certain sections.
Pattanaik has also shared his perspective and the resulting retelling of certain events or symbols. He has included examples of how some present-day words and rituals are deeply rooted in Greek mythology. This is likely to come across as a pleasant surprise to most readers.
To facilitate comprehension, the author has segregated the stories into different segments. This has helped maintain a decent flow of events. The illustrations in the book are beautiful, bold and thought-provoking, and add a lot of value to the plot.
Finally, for readers who may have a hard time remembering which Greek god equals which Roman god or Hindu deity, a more-than-helpful table included at the end may come in handy.
WHAT WE DID NOT LIKE ABOUT OLYMPUS
Olympus lacks the fire and drama associated with Greek mythology. In an attempt to include everything, the author has kept all the stories short, which does not do justice to them. Furthermore, due to Pattanaik’s writing style, this may feel like reading a wordy encyclopedia or an insipid textbook. That said, the author does deserve full marks for his sincere efforts.
The only thing that stayed within the box was hope, which would propel humanity forward.
But since Prometheus was immortal, the liver regrew at night and the torture resumed the next day—eternal suffering for one who dared disobey Zeus.
Achilles did not care for the gold for in his heart. He knew he had crossed the lines of propriety in rage and the gods were upset with him.
Olympus is the perfect book for initiating someone into Greek mythology. However, for the more well-versed readers, this is one book they will probably not mind missing.
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