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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Twisting and turning - an intriguing, complex tale
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...
Published on 9 Nov 2006 by I. Curry

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3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
I think I'm with some other people when I say I didn't necessarily "like" this book, opposed to the fact that I understood it. It's a clever retelling/reinterpretation of Theseus and the Minotaur... completely not what I was expecting. A quick, interesting read, but not brilliant, in my own mind.
Published 17 months ago by Miss Caddy


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Twisting and turning - an intriguing, complex tale, 9 Nov 2006
By 
I. Curry "IDC" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Helmet Of Horror: The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur (Myths) (Hardcover)
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. At times it is unclear to the point of being unintelligible, but the fast nature of the prose ensures that this confusion doesn't lead to a frustration with the novel.

Don't expect a classic rendering of the original tale. There is no tearful departure from Greece, no heroic slaying of the beast. Instead Pelevin has taken the baser, more fundamental concepts of the myth and woven a new tale that delivers a profound philosophical tract along with a fascinating read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, 22 Mar 2006
This review is from: The Helmet Of Horror: The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur (Myths) (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling but confusing, 31 Dec 2006
By 
Star_Sea "Xing" (Salisbury, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Helmet Of Horror: The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur (Myths) (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abstractedly accessible - something to think about, 22 Jun 2012
This review is from: The Helmet Of Horror: The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur (Myths) (Hardcover)
This novel gives the appearance of being very accessible - and it is: it's written in (chatroom-style) dialogue throughout, as well as having some very amusing moments, making it a very quick read. Don't be fooled, though, as there is a lot to think about, and you'll probably want to read it again by the time you finish, to get your head around some of the ideas. Admittedly it's an abstract concept, but it's redeemed by its sense of humour, and well worth a look if you're bored with standard, formulaic novels, or just in the mood for a bit of a challenge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I shall construct a labyrinth in which I can lose myself, together with anyone who tries to find me.", 29 Dec 2009
By 
Sam Woodward (UK) - See all my reviews
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars "I shall construct a labyrinth in which I can lose myself, together with anyone who tries to find me.", 29 Dec 2009
By 
Sam Woodward (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Helmet Of Horror: The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur (Myths) (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original, 8 Aug 2006
Victor Pelevin once again questions existence in this original twist of the minotaur myth. Written as a conversation in a chat room Pelevin manages to mix modern day youth culture with an age old myth. Both surprisingly easy to read yet full of depth, meaning and ambiguity. Knowledge of, or specific interest in Theseus and the Minotaur is not a pre-requisite for enjoying this novel.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, 23 Mar 2013
By 
Miss Caddy "K Caddy" (Reading, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Helmet Of Horror: The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur (Myths) (Hardcover)
I think I'm with some other people when I say I didn't necessarily "like" this book, opposed to the fact that I understood it. It's a clever retelling/reinterpretation of Theseus and the Minotaur... completely not what I was expecting. A quick, interesting read, but not brilliant, in my own mind.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Stuck in the Labyrinth of the Intranet, 10 Mar 2013
By 
Ashen Venema (Farnham, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Helmet Of Horror: The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur (Myths) (Hardcover)
I got this book as present from a Russian blogger friend. Not sure I would have picked it from a shelf. Some reviewers report they swallowed the text quickly, like in two hours ... Huh. I took little bites over several weeks, alternating the read with several other books I dip into before bedtime.
Characters emerge during dialogues reflecting back to the them their discourse, which revolves round aimlessly seeking explanations, sharing hallucinations and possible ways out of the labyrinth, a pun on what virtual reality can feel like at times, a soul-sucking spider. And a truth, since we are stuck in the projected simulation of a collective intranet. In small doses I did enjoy the word plays and clever takes on philosophers the characters meet. Some have advice. Nutcracker cracked me up a few times. He relates a proposal to get out ... It all came down to how many times to turn right and how many times to turn left, and in which order. Everyone wanted to do it his own way... One can of course stop thinking of a way out and wake up. But that's just between the lines. The end merely turns to another fatalistic round.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cyber-age Minotaur Myth, 13 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Helmet Of Horror: The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur (Myths) (Hardcover)
This is a reinterpretation of Theseus and the minotaur from the canongate myth series, with lots of cyber-age philosophy thrown in and is written exclusively is comments from a chat room thread.

Firstly this book was a very quick read due to it being written in comments. I dont want to say too much about the plot as I found it good to approach it with little to no knowledge of the set up/plot.

I really enjoyed the many twists and turns as each character discovers their own version of the labyrinth and what it means to them, and all the different theories on who the minotaur is.

I spent a lot of this book confused but in a really good way as I tried to come up with my own theories to coincide with the characters although I didn't for-see the end twist which was great and had loads of impact as it happened so suddenly.
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