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Gods Behaving Badly [Hardcover]

Marie Phillips
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 12.17 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

2 Aug 2007

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.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape; First American Edition edition (2 Aug 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224081314
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224081313
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 13.8 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 559,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"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)

Book Description

Funny and unpretentious, witty and readable, Gods Behaving Badly lives up to all its potential. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FUNNY AND VERY ORIGINAL STORY 2 July 2011
Someone suggested this book to me a while ago, but having grown up with mythology instead of the normal fairytales and having studied classics, I thought that it would just be a waste of time. Luckily, I decided to ignore my prejudice and give it a try. I really enjoyed this book as it is very well written, gripping and delightfully funny.

The Olympian Gods live among mortals in modern day London, but as they are almost forgotten and people don't worship them as much as they used to, their powers are fading. However, that does not stop them from being as nasty and spoiled as they used to be back when they were all powerful. When they are not working for a living, doing ridiculous human jobs, like Artemis' dog walking, Aphrodite's phone sex business and Apollo's clairvoyance television program, they still pass their free time plotting against each other and devising silly pranks. Their immortal lives become really complicated when one of their pranks involves a very British young couple; nice and naive Alice and her almost boyfriend Neil.

This lovely book is written with a great sense of humour and it is very easy to read. Knowledge of Greek mythology is not necessary in order to enjoy the story, but knowing a few things about the Olympians and the way they usually behaved in mythology might help you appreciate the humour even more. Highly recommended!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 2 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 5 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 8 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 12 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 13 months ago by Rebecca
5.0 out of 5 stars Naughty Gods
Funny, very funny, super funny, you will read it on the bus and laugh out loud and everybody will be looking at you but you won't be able to stop. Read more
Published 16 months ago by TH13
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!!
Thoroughly enjoyed this book ... more than I thought possible. A very easy book, fabulous escapism with every component necessary- fantasy, romance, science fiction, morality (and... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Charis Bee
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever quick read
This was an amusing,witty quick read.The Greek gods are reduced to living in a dilapidated house in London and their power and influence are wearing thin, but all that changes when... Read more
Published 18 months ago by KAW
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun easy read
Gods Behaving Badly is a great book, bringing to life a bunch of gods reluctantly sharing a house in London. The gods' personalities come out beautifully. Read more
Published 23 months ago by HCL
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a punt if you can buy a cheap edition
The central conceit is unoriginal - I'm not a great lover of fantasy but even I can think of Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams and Thorne Smith writing similar works, and that's without... Read more
Published on 30 Nov 2011 by undersold
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