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The Helmet Of Horror: The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur (Myths) Hardcover – 2 Mar 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; First edition edition (2 Mar 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841957054
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841957050
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 3 x 20.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 365,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"'A psychedelic Nabokov for the cyber age' TIME MAGAZINE 'Pelevin is one of the funniest novelists writing today' NEW STATESMAN 'What is truly stunning is the whole-cloth originality of Pelevin's vision... A virtuoso performance, at times as deep-hearted as a Tchaikovsky pas de deux, at others as light-fingered as "The Flight of the Bumblebee'" LOS ANGELES TIMES 'One of the greatest pleasures of Pelevin's writing is the perfectly pitched irony of his narrative voice, which pokes fun at his characters but never abandons sympathy for them' GUARDIAN"

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3 Hours Unabridged --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By I. Curry VINE VOICE on 9 Nov 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Canongate Myth series continues with a retelling of the story of Theseus, the Minotaur and the labyrinth. So far this series has seen authors drawing upon the original source of the legend, and weaving their own narrative threads. The Odyssey was retold from Penelope's point of view, whilst the story of Samson focused on a shorter slice of the overall myth. Victor Pelevin took the challenge of the Cretian horror of the half man, half bull Minotaur, and rather than retelling completely reinvents the story.

There are certain continuities. Theseus, the Minotaur and Ariadne are named characters, albeit only the latter enjoying anything like a major piece of the action. Living up to her mythical namesake she spins the thread of the narrative, guiding us around Pelevin's post-modern take on the labyrinth. The major continuity is the concept of the labyrinth, a trapping, twisting, contained environment. This twenty-first century retelling sees the reader take the role of a passive observer to a chat room conversation.

The initial bursts of conversation between the trapped residents of the labyrinth are confused, but gradually a fuller picture of the reality of their imprisonment emerges. Each resident is lodged in a nearly-identical cell, with their own personal labyrinth located beyond the door to their cell. The identity of those responsible for this confinement is not revealed, and the novel instead deviates into an explanation of the nature of the world they now inhabit.

The chat-room format lends an urgency and pace to the novel, which means it can be devoured. It may need re-reading, as you find yourself skipping some of the lengthier, but vital, `posts' that build up the crucial metaphysical and philosophical messages.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "svesk" on 22 Mar 2006
Format: Hardcover
Pelevin weaves a fascinating tale, built on the myth of Theseus, the Minotaur and the labyrinth. He places a number of people in identical cells, each with their very own especially designed labyrinth outside. The story plays out before our eyes, in the form of a chat room conversation. You as a reader are a lurcher, reading the conversations of others, only atching and waiting. They, on the other hand, are active (more or less), working on finding out what their situation is, how to get out of their labyrinth and who their captor is. They are continuously being fed information, but cannot be sure what to trust...
Pelevin plays with language and form and manages to give each character its unique voice, while at the same time asking the Big Questions about our existence and the essence of Being and Truth.
So far the most original and interesting of the myth series books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Star_Sea on 31 Dec 2006
Format: Hardcover
Don't expect to understand this book on the first or even the second reading. It twists and turns and you can never completely see what's going on, much like the many labyrinths within its pages. It's post-modern in the best sense of the word, taking the idea of the Minotaur as guardian of the labyrinth and basically running with it. Pelevin has a lot of fun playing with language and perception, although these aren't the only issues discussed within the book.

Buy this if you're a fan of intelligent and offbeat writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam Woodward TOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Dec 2009
Format: Audio CD
Picture the scene - you wake up in a strange room, dressed in ancient Greek clothing, with no idea of how you got there. There is a keyboard & monitor which you can use to chat with several other people who are in the same predicament; but who are they? Can you trust them? There is also a door which opens into a surreal labyrinth. But someone else in the chatroom has had strange dreams about a Minotaur wearing a fearsome Helmet Of Horror, so do you really want to poke around out there? And why is this all happening anyway?

The Helmet Of Horror is a surreal modern reworking of the ancient Greek myth. Pelevin really goes to town with this material, fusing a tense atmosphere with a parody of banal internet forums & heaps of philosophical musings on the nature of consciousness & the symbolism of mazes. This short book is crammed full of thought-provoking analogies - the ways we lose ourselves in the internal mazes of our minds, the Christian use of labyrinths in Cathedral grounds, the inability to seek 'truth' in an age where information & communication are abundant.

All these twisting passages make The Helmet Of Horror a demanding read & an utterly rewarding one for those who don't get lost. Those expecting an atmospheric thriller about monsters will quickly lose their way but in my view, this is by far the most exciting of the Canongate Myth series - the most exciting book I've read all year, in fact. I look forward to re-reading it over again in the years to come.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam Woodward TOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Dec 2009
Format: Hardcover
Picture the scene - you wake up in a strange room, dressed in ancient Greek clothing, with no idea of how you got there. There is a keyboard & monitor which you can use to chat with several other people who are in the same predicament; but who are they? Can you trust them? There is also a door which opens into a surreal labyrinth. But someone else in the chatroom has had strange dreams about a Minotaur wearing a fearsome Helmet Of Horror, so do you really want to poke around out there? And why is this all happening anyway?

The Helmet Of Horror is a surreal modern reworking of the ancient Greek myth. Pelevin really goes to town with this material, fusing a tense atmosphere with a parody of banal internet forums & heaps of philosophical musings on the nature of consciousness & the symbolism of mazes. This short book is crammed full of thought-provoking analogies - the ways we lose ourselves in the internal mazes of our minds, the Christian use of labyrinths in Cathedral grounds, the inability to seek 'truth' in an age where information & communication are abundant.

All these twisting passages make The Helmet Of Horror a demanding read & an utterly rewarding one for those who don't get lost. Those expecting an atmospheric thriller about monsters will quickly lose their way but in my view, this is by far the most exciting of the Canongate Myth series - the most exciting book I've read all year, in fact. I look forward to re-reading it over again in the years to come.
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