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Gods Behaving Badly [Paperback]

Marie Phillips
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

29 May 2008

Being immortal isn't all it's cracked up to be. Life's hard for a Greek god in the 21st century: nobody believes in you any more, even your own family doesn't respect you, and you're stuck in a delapidated hovel in north London with too many siblings and not enough hot water. But for Artemis (goddess of hunting, professional dog walker), Aphrodite (goddess of beauty, telephone sex operator) and Apollo (god of the sun, TV psychic) there's no way out... Until a meek cleaner and her would-be boyfriend come into their lives, and turn the world literally upside down.

Gods Behaving Badly is that rare thing, a charming, funny, utterly original first novel that satisfies the head and the heart.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Paperback Edition, First Printing edition (29 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099513021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099513025
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Very, very funny and delightfully original as well as acutely clever in a makes-you-think-about-contemporary-morality-without-realising-it kind of way... this novel will not only make you laugh and give you a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling, it will also provide a good basic grounding in Greek mythology" (Independent)

"What makes the novel stand out - and it really does stand out - is its originality and lightness of touch" (Daily Telegraph)

"The Olympians are immortal - this we all know. But it has taken Marie Phillips' wit to put them back where they belong - into a decrepit 21st-century London bedsit. It is all very, very funny...this book charms and provokes in a paragraph. I am writing this in Delphi, dangling my feet in Apollo's sacred spring - the water is said to bring the muse. Phillips clearly has a bottle of it on her desk" (Bettany Hughes The Times)

"An absolutely delightful novel" (Scotland on Sunday)

"Ingeniously imagined and satisfyingly lusty" (Guardian)

Book Description

Funny and unpretentious, witty and readable, Gods Behaving Badly lives up to all its potential.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Olympus' faded hierarchy 19 Aug 2007
By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER
A witty idea: because noone believes in the gods of Olympus any more, they are all living together in a grotty house near Hampstead Heath. What is left of their ancient power has to be used sparingly; and they do secular jobs `appropriate' to their previous status: Artemis is a professional dog-walker, Aphrodite is a telephone sex operator, Apollo appears on a TV show, Dionysus runs a night club, etc. Just as they did on Mount Olympus, they quarrel a lot and do each other mischief. In particular, Aphrodite has a quarrel with Apollo and gets Eros (reluctant because he has come to admire the teaching of Jesus Christ) to fire an arrow at Apollo which makes him fall in love with the first creature he sees, who happens to be a young woman cleaner who is in a chaste relationship with a young engineering draughtsman. I mustn't give away more of the plot, which ingeniously works the mine of Greek mythology. It's a seedy world they now live in and there is a good deal of raunchiness. The style is mostly flat and colloquial; much of the book is dialogue, some of it foul. An artistic treat the book is not; but Marie Phillips keeps up the ingenuity to the end, when she imagines a science-fiction-like Underworld; and once, two-thirds through the book, the prevailing larky note changes to a passage that is rather profound.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another refugee problem 3 April 2008
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME
Alice Mulholland, although armed with a linguistics degree, is a cleaner. She likes things neat and tidy - she's almost obsessive about it. Sacked from a job, she's convinced by her friend Neil to go freelance. Her seeking work brings her to a dilapidated house in an otherwise suitable neighbourhood. Greeted - and hired immediately - by an austere woman named Artemis, she enters a new life. The house in Islington is inhabited by refugees from Mount Olympus, where Artemis once hunted, Zeus ruled and the world seemed a happier place. Now, in this run-down place, they eke out something of an existence while staying mostly out of sight of the mortal world.

In this hilarious account of how the gods interact and what that might mean for us, Marie Phillips depicts their lives in stark detail. Artemis the huntress now walks dogs for busy clients. Aphrodite, that stunningly beautiful personification of lust, is a telephone sex worker. Zeus and Hera haven't been seen for twenty years. Apollo, ever restless, wants to restore his power, but is prevented from some of his more exotic actions by an oath to harm no more humans. Good thing, since he punishes those who reject him. That's almost lucky for Alice with whom he falls madly in love - with a little prompting. Alice, however, is a "nice" girl and wants nothing to do with him. She has Neil - in a manner of speaking - and wants to remain loyal to their tenuous relationship.

Phillips has crafted an engaging story of sibling rivalry, thwarted and waning powers and a touching love story. We have been led away from the idea of our gods being human-like, she reminds us. Perhaps we need something to restore that affiliation and return to what we have lost. First, of course, we must re-ignite that belief.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, witty and extremely entertaining! 14 Aug 2007
I walked past this book in Waterstones and immediately felt the urge to pick it up. I am currently ploughing my way through Bullfynches Mythology and therefore could not resist the urge to scan the first few pages.

The first paragraph alone told me that I had to own this book and see how Marie Phillips manages to weave the ancient into the 21st Century.

The book is fantastically entertaining and an enthralling read. I read the book in less than 10 hours as I was caught up in each and every twist and turn of the plot.

Anyone who loves mythology would be amused by the way that Phillips uses the traditional element of tragedy so often the basis of Greek mythology in this 21st Century version.

For anyone who struggles to remember which god does what and who is related to whom - this book is a godsend. Artemis, Apollo, Eros et al come alive in such a way that you can vividly imagine living in a modern world where the great gods of Olympus walk past you every day.

Get it! Read it! Enjoy it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gods And Mortals 12 Oct 2007
Famed Greek Gods, Artemis, Apollo, Aphrodite and Dionysus share a living space in England. Not having the ancient powers they used to, each God takes on 'mortal' jobs, ranging from walking dogs to running a night club to being a telephone sex operator. There is much bickering around the household about ordinary life and they tend to cause several quite humorous mischievous things to each other. One that is important is when Aphrodite gets Eros to make Apollo fall in love with a young cleaning woman (as good housekeepers are tough to find these days, you know). Of course, this woman is not emotionally available and that starts a series of truly clever and funny occurrences throughout the book. Greek mythology is well reconstructed and the new world is far raunchier and seedier than the distant past. Of course, all these activities lead up to a tumultuous ending where mortals and Gods interact in the strangest of underworld ways. A clever idea written with a breezy wit; Marie Phillips hits the mark on the head with this twist of mythology and reality.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Crude and nasty.
Published 3 days ago by Derek Malpass
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny
Brilliant easy read
Published 19 days ago by goldie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Avery clever idea for a good story.
Published 22 days ago by battbooks
3.0 out of 5 stars retired English teacher said she would have loved to teach it to her...
A bit too fantastical for my taste but it was chosen by my book group so had to at least start to read. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. A. Cleave
5.0 out of 5 stars gods behaving badly
Thoroughly enjoyed this book, very funny. Also read the second book as well just as funy. Would read again both of the books
Published 1 month ago by Mrs t Swanson
5.0 out of 5 stars Andy's Review
I had got this book out from my local library several times in the past, and had never quite managed to finish it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Andy Casey
3.0 out of 5 stars Clearly written just to be a movie
Not overly impressed with this and clearly not meant to be literary magic. I bought it as I am a fan of the Greek Gods and legends etc but I thought it was okay but nothing... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Blue-tigeress
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
Not one of my favs, the story had the potential to be great but it just wasn't. I struggled to finish it and its only a short book.
Published 10 months ago by Bookworm Burn
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't quite deliver
This started with a great premise, the Greek gods fallen on hard times and living in London. I didn't expect too much from it other than a bit of summer brain candy, but still was... Read more
Published 14 months ago by shortforbob
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant summer read
I took this book with me on my holiday this year and flew through it within the first 3 days. The story is fantastic and it's laugh out loud moments keep you turning its pages. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Rebecca
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