Middleton ( The Lie of the Land ) presents a lyrical but graphic retelling of the ancient Celtic story of Pryderi. Pendaran, chieftain of the herdspeople of Dyfed who dwell in the mortal world, wins the love of Rhiannon, a horse-goddess from the immortal ``otherworld'' of Annwyvn. In Dyfed, Rhiannon bears a boy child, Pryderi, along with a foal, Pryderi's alternate self. After the sea-god Manawydan trains him for a rite of passage, Pryderi invades Annwyvn astride his colt and seizes a sacred cup, a caldron, seven pigs and Cigfa, the goddess of sovereignty, thereby proving himself fit to rule the land of his birth. But Pryderi (whose name means ``trouble'' in Welsh) soon tires of ruling Dyfed and asks the friendly god Gwydion to release him from his obligation so that he can return to Annwvyn. As the god grants his wish, Pryderi's horse metamorphoses into a mortal man to become Lord of Dyfed in Pryderi's stead. Into this engrossing tale of mysticism and magic, Middleton packs memorable descriptions of creatures that change shape (for instance, a pretty girl turns into a grotesque succubus, and a boar carries a wolf and stag inside it); guilt-ridden Oedipal fantasies; episodes of raw violence; and erotic love scenes. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989 Release date: 06/01/1989 Genre: Fiction
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