Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock
Review by Michelle Herbert
Mythago Wood, set after the Second World War, tells the story of how a father’s obsession drags his two sons into a world of myths and legends. Of course this is not the only interesting point about this story. The two brothers Christian and Steven inherit their father’s house after his death and with it his obsession with Ryhope Wood which borders their home.
Ryhope Wood is a place where the legends of earlier races can still be found, here they are known as Mythago’s, which are very similar to Jung’s archetypes but in a broader sense. The father’s theory is that in all human brains. there is a way to connect and bring these Mythago’s further out of from the wood.
The real question though is does the wood bend Christian, Steven, their father George and the airman Harry Keeton to its will or do their minds and memories affect the woods and the Mythago’s within?
Robert Holdstock was a famed fantasist during his lifetime and created a whole cycle of stories around Ryhope Wood, with this being the first book. The book is well written and draws you in so that, although you may not always understand what is happening to Steven as he on his quest, by the end of the book, for all its savagery, you are hoping that there is, somewhere in this world, a wood like this in existence.
Ndeshidesia from Tanzania
Its a nice book that leaves you with a lot of thinking and imaginations. It give the need to understand humanity, campanionship and obsession as well as the nature
Cat from London
A very impressive fantasy novel, one that explores the extremes of love and hate, life and death, the ancient world and the new, abandonment and devotion... there are so many, all swirling together under the oppressive trees of Rythope Wood. One character calls it a 'haunted wood' and that's a strong theme throughout - a son haunted by his father who regarded him as an inconvenience, the father haunted by the mystery of the wood and the 'mythagos' or projected creatures and people created from memories and superstitions of ancient races that populate it, the mythago girl Guiwenneth who haunts the father and two brothers. It focuses heavily on the primal nature of being human, particularly sex with the men lusting after their mythago girl and also the penetration of the mysteries of the wood itself, but it also taps into the need for companionship, family ties, and the forces of nature. Overall a deeply woven adventure which takes you back to the beginnings and the basics of humanity.
Joseph from Rochdale
I found reading Mythago Wood to be an extremely rewarding experience. The titular wood will always be one of my favourite fantasy locations and if you plan to get this book, try and get a copy that is illustrated by John Howe, his art is breath-taking - http://www.john-howe.com/portfolio/gallery/details.php?image_id=1025. A deserved winner of the World Fantasy Award.
What did you think about Mythago Wood?
Submit your own reader review and award the book the rating you think it deserves.