cover image The Goddess of Buttercups and Daisies

The Goddess of Buttercups and Daisies

Martin Millar. Counterpoint/Soft Skull (PGW, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-59376-605-4

Millar’s lively comic novel centers on the frantic efforts of Greek playwright Aristophanes to finally earn the respect that eluded him throughout his career. The year is 421 B.C.E., and Aristophanes hopes to wow his rowdy audience and the critics at the annual Dionysian theater festival, by combining his trademark bawdy humor with an underlying serious message about peace. Not only are there the familiar setbacks plaguing the production, which he entitles Peace, but there’s divine intervention, as well. This appears in the form of Laet, a spirit of discord summoned by the Athenians’ archenemies, the Spartans, with the assistance of a priestess called Kleonike. In response, the goddess Athena sends two ambassadors from Mount Olympus to help Aristophanes. The alluring but dim nymph Metris and the Amazon Bremusa are sent to counteract the efforts of Laet. Also stirring the pot is a pesky poet named Luxos, continually harassing Aristophanes for a slot in his production, as a lyricist or preshow performer or both. Millar’s (Lonely Werewolf Girl) plot and characters border on the cartoonish, but he packs the narrative with interesting information about the era and Greek drama. Very short chapters, from the various perspectives of the main characters, keep the novel moving at an appropriately manic pace. Smart escapist reading. (May)