I feel like I’ve known the story of the fall of Icarus forever, but as far as I can remember I’ve never actually read it (how I’ve come across it then is beyond me), and so when I saw this going for a quid as part of the Penguin Little Black Classics range, I couldn’t resist.
What I got wasn’t exactly what I expected. Instead of telling the story of Daedalus and Icarus, this was a jumbled hotch-potch of a few different tales, including mentions of Daedalus building the labyrinth that imprisoned the minotaur and how it was bested by Theseus, a bunch of notables going on a hunt to kill a monstrous boar let loose by the goddess Diana, and another where an asshole who cuts down a sacred tree is beset by hunger in punishment.
The story of the fall of Icarus was included, but tossed off in a line – as are pretty much all of the other tales mentioned. I’ve no idea if this is the fault of Ovid, the translator, or whoever condensed the tales so that they could fit inside these few pages, but I definitely felt as if this came up short of its promise. Thanks to the constant whirlwind introductions of new names, I also found this pretty hard to follow, getting befuddled as to whose story I was now following.
I will normally devour any amount of Greek myth happily, so this was a real let down, but I suppose that at least I can now pretend to have read Ovid.