The Goddess Letters

Carol Orlock, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (220p) ISBN 978-0-312-00601-3
This retelling of the myth of Demeter, goddess of fertility, and her daughter Persephone, in whose presence flowers bloom, begins with Persephone's rape and abduction to the Underworld by Lord Hades. In alternating chapters Demeter and Persephone mourn their separation, establishing themselves as characters with both the powers of Olympus and recognizably human emotions. Demeter is expansive, earthy and sensual, Persephone adolescently self-centered and Hades (whom she calls Dis) rigidly proud of his ghostly cold domain where, he believes, Justice rules. Combining well-known elements of Greek mythology with a wide-ranging view of religion and philosophy, Orlock (whose work has appeared in Ms. and Fiction West moves from Persephone's rape, which marks the end of matriarchal authority, to Demeter's final withdrawal 2000 years later. While distinguished by imaginative and thought-provoking ideas, the novel exhibits its greatest strength in its lyric, intensely emotional examination of a mother-daughter relationship and its evocation of the processes of change and loss. (May 18)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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