Read Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock Online


The mystery of Ryhope Wood, Britain's last fragment of primeval forest, consumed George Huxley's entire, & long, life. Now, after his death, his sons have taken up his work. But what they discover is beyond what they could have expected. For the Wood is a realm where myths gain flesh & blood, tapping primal fears & desires subdued through the millennia. A realmThe mystery of Ryhope Wood, Britain's last fragment of primeval forest, consumed George Huxley's entire, & long, life. Now, after his death, his sons have taken up his work. But what they discover is beyond what they could have expected. For the Wood is a realm where myths gain flesh & blood, tapping primal fears & desires subdued through the millennia. A realm where love & beauty haunt your dreams & may drive you insane. Mythago Wood won the World Fantasy Award on its first publication in 1984, securing Robert Holdstock's reputation as one of the major fantasy writers of our time....

Title : Mythago Wood
Author :
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ISBN : 9780575079700
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Mythago Wood Reviews

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2019-02-06 11:19

    I accepted the notebook. "My life is full of diaries."Steven Huxley had just been handed the diary of his sidekick companion Harry Keeton. I am personally fond of Harry because our names are one letter away from being the same Keeton/Keeten. I am actually an impostor, my great great grandfather Thomas Newton Keaton changed his name to Keeten when he was conscripted into the Confederate army. Family lore states that he had a dispute with his older brother Major William Henry Harrison Keaton and that had caused the name change. So despite the fact that I am going to be talking about the Huxley family a lot in this review, because they are the designated heroes of this book, I think we all know that Harry is the understated, but true hero of this tale. Harry's diary was not the first diary that had impacted Steven's life. The first was written by his father George Huxley. Steven has just returned to the family home after convalescing in France from a bullet wound received in the war. He expects to find his brother, Christian, who is recently married, happily luxuriating in domestic bliss. Instead Steven finds a neurotic brother obsessed with Ryhope Woods, a three mile square section of pristine old world forest that has never been properly explored since the last Ice Age. This gloomy, compelling stand of forest butts up against the family home, and had also been the obsession of their father. Steven finds Christian's wife in a shallow grave with an arrow through her eye. In the immortal words of Kevin Bacon in the movie Tremors What the hell is going on? I mean what the hell is going on?Christian in an attempt to explain what IS going on to Steven has him read their father's diary which is filled with stories and observations that barely make sense. Christian disappears into the woods and each time he reappears he is a different, less civilized, unrecognizable form of the brother Steven knew. Robert Holdstock was a student of the Carl Jungian theory of the archetype hero. Jung defined his concept of the archetype as a formula that is the result of "countless experiences of our ancestors". Ryhope Woods is full of mythological creatures, familiar heroes such as Robin Hood, and Hercules, but also mythological creatures that existed before written memory. They are the manifestation of our collective memories of heroes that have been encoded into our unconscious mind by the memories and experiences of our ancestors. As Christian, Steven and Harry spend more time in the woods mythagos are being formed from their own unconscious minds. They exist as ghosts at the peripheral of their vision, but the longer they stay in the woods the more substantial these manifestations become. Did I mention there is a girl? She is called Guiwenneth. All three Huxley men become intoxicated with her. "Her face was quite startling, pale-skinned, slightly freckled. Her hair was brilliant auburn, and tumbled in unkempt, wind-swept masses about her shoulders. I would have expected her eyes to be bright green, but they were a depthless brown. Her arms and legs were thin, but the muscles were wiry; a fine blonde down covered her calves and I noticed that her knees were badly scarred." Not exactly the typical girl next door that I had a crush on in high school. "Guiwenneth had a woodland, animal aroma that was startlingly unpleasant, yet strangely erotic." She does seem to exude a potent musk that the Huxley men were particularly susceptible to. As the story unfolds we discover that the father, though he had died, has merged with a large angry mythical creature from ancient times. An epic battle between the brothers and the father unfolds for the possession of the girl.I'm having to hold myself back from giving away too many details. For only 252 pages this book manages to convey an epic story. There are many layers and I'm sure I missed some key points. I can see myself rereading this book in a few years and gleaning more wonderful insights. I have a feeling that the books in the series build on each other and my appreciation for the first one will only deepen as I read the rest of the series. Highly recommended to those that like a heavy dose of Jung with their fantasy. The book is elegantly written, and does not bog down with weighty psychological preponderance, but you will find yourself needing to pause in your reading ever so often so the blocks in your brain have a chance to shuffle.

  • Carol.
    2019-02-07 05:41

    I am not the ideal audience for this book. This is a book that takes the idea of fantasy very, very seriously. There is little love, or sense of joy in the magic; this is obsession and wildness, and while I'm a fan of pursuing passion and all things wild, this is the dreamscape extreme that occurred after a few too many tipples before bed.Mythago Woodfeels like a gothic fantasy, as if Jung and perhaps one of those Victorian spinsters got together and wove a tale about a small English family, ancient myths and estrangement. This is a book about obsession, first with the wood, then with self-creation, and finally with a woman who embodies both that wildness and creation.The synopsis: Steven returns from the war to his family home, to recover and reunite with his brother, some time after his father's death. He soon discovers his brother has been drawn into the mystery of the wood, and its not long before he is disappearing for weeks at a time while Steven keeps house and waits. Needless to say, it was only a matter of time before Steven enters the wood as well. Of course, there is a mysterious woman. In pursuing explanation and mapping of the wood, he heads to a local airstrip and hires Harry Keeton to fly over the wood. Without going too much farther, Harry becomes involved in the mystery of the wood as well.I struggled with the disturbing undertone of the males' fascination with Guiwenneth, the mysterious female. In each incarnation, she has been created out of the male mind, acting as the uncertain object of his affection. Steven is no exception, quickly becoming convinced he loves her, and that this time, it is their destiny. I get the underlying mythical undertones, and that psychology about creation, determination, etc., but frankly, it's unpalatable reading about male obsession with his vision of what love is. Yawners. Steven is particularly ignorant and selfish when he initially pretends to be 'conversing' with her when it is clear that he has no idea what she is saying. I don't have the book in front of me, but its only a short period of time before he starts muttering about 'forever.' As I said, I get that it's an archetype. I'm just not that interesting in reading this dark, deeply sexist (woman=native=other) fantasy manifestation of Jungian theory.For a world fantasy award, the writing surprised me; there is a great deal of 'showing,' as one of the brothers delves into the mystery of the wood, but because of the legends and the angle of psychological creation, there is a great deal of telling as well. I remember a long section of walking, an encounter or two, then the meeting of a mysterious shaman who explains all. Or at least half of it. Reminds me rather unfortunately of The Bridge Across Forever: A True Love Story and it's ilk, usually discovered in New Age-y actualize yourself bookstores. Honestly a two-star read for me, maybe worth a bit more for its historical importance and underlying idea.Cross posted at apologies to Richard for not being a more ardent fan of this book

  • Stephen
    2019-01-24 06:40

    6.0 stars. This book is a MASTERPIECE and will likely be on my list of "All Time Favorite" novels before too long (though I always try and wait a little while after reading the book to see how long it stays with me). In brief, the story revolves around a primeval forest that has survived intact since the Ice Age (if not before) and where archetypes of Man's universal myths and legends exist and the story of one family's exploration of this forest over two generations. In describing my reaction to this book, the first thing I have to say is that it is ORIGINAL (something that is very hard to say when it comes to Fantasy novels these days). When reading this book, I did not ever think, "Oh I have read this before" or "this reminds me of [insert other book title:]...." The originality of the story itself deserves high praise, but it would be wasted if the story was not well-written, with well drawn characters and memorable supporting players. Fortunately, this book has all three of those things. It is brilliantly (and beautifully) written with some absolutely classic characters and creatures.This is high level, adult fantasy at it best. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!Winner: British Science Fiction Award for Best NovelWinner: World Fantasy Award for Best NovelNominee: Locus Award for Best Fantasy NovelNamed to the Locus "All Time Best" Fantasy Novel list.

  • Richard Derus
    2019-02-08 05:22

    Rating: 5 thrilled stars of fiveThe Book Report: Go look at Jeffrey's review. I'll never be able to improve on that.My Review: I have to add a few points to it, though.The mythopoetic roots of the story are clear, and the entire experience of reading the tale is one of immersion into a vivified version of The Hero's Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life & Work. Jung's brilliant conceptualization of "The Collective Unconscious" provides the underpinnings of Ryhope Wood, of course, but man-alive does Holdstock do the magisterial idea justice with his fabulation and his enrobement of the ideas in perfectly chosen words.I don't like that the book is called "fantasy" fiction, since it has none of the horrible cliche crapola that identifies fantasy in my mind. It's mythic fiction. It uses, and reuses, and synthesizes, the myths that support all the ideas you and I have about the world. This is a profoundly creative book, and should not be lumped in with ninety-three volume series books about teenaged girls with Special Gifts and serious badass 'tudes.This is literature, not writing.This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  • Mangrii
    2019-02-07 09:40

    Impresionante, si os gusta la fantasía, tenéis que leer esta novela si o si.La historia nos narra como cuando Steven Huxley vuelve a casa tras luchar en la 2ª Guerra Mundial donde teóricamente le esperan su hermano Christian y una misteriosa joven llamada Guiwenneth; en realidad se encuentra con un persona descuidad y solitaria, aquejada por los miedos y las obsesiones que también había tenido su fallecido padre, tanto con el bosque que rodea su hogar como por la joven desaparecida. Con ciertas explicaciones bastante incomprensibles de su hermano y un diario de su padre, Steven empezara a comprender que sucede en el bosque Ryhope, el porqué de que su familia está obsesionada con él y su papel en esta misteriosa historia.Una lectura espectacular. Narrada en primera persona a través de Steven Huxley y a través de un lenguaje directo y sencillo, pero sin dejar de lado un aspecto literario cuidado y poético en ocasiones; nos adentramos en la historia poco a poco, conociendo conceptos y descubrimientos de primera mano, pero sin establecerse tales como verdades absolutas, sino más bien ideas simples bastante incompletas que podemos ir teorizando a lo largo de la novela. La narración pasara por momento de realidad y el mundo que conocemos para meterse en la historia de algo que sucedió hace miles de años, siendo su trama algo que no se alcanza a vislumbrar o ensamblar hasta el final, por lo difuso que es todo.No creo que sea una lectura fácil y no creo que le vaya a gustar a todo el mundo, mucha gente abandonara en las primeras páginas probablemente y a su pesar. El libro está cargado de narraciones y descripciones, con muchas páginas exentas de diálogos, y eso no es algo que todo el mundo soporte o le guste, para mí, es una absoluta maravilla todo lo que llega a transmitir, y realmente, hay dos puntos especialmente que me han encantado de la novela. La primera, por supuesto, todo lo que tiene que ver con los mitagos, todo el concepto y lo que vamos descubriendo de ellos, sensacional e innovador. Esa paradoja donde todos los recuerdos de héroes y leyendas que han estado presentes en la humanidad siguen vivos, renacen y se van transformando en un ciclo sin fin, es fantástico y muy original. Y segundo por supuesto, los personajes, todos desarrollados y algunos muy complejos, donde sin duda me quedo con Guiwenneth por esa ternura y dulzura que desprendía, aunque fuera tan ruda.Una lectura de fantasía para mi obligatoria y que me arrepiento de no haber leído nunca antes. Una obra distinta con toques de mitología y realismo mágico, con ambientes inquietantes y gran profundidad onírica.

  • Terry
    2019-01-19 05:20

    What a great read! Holdstock managed to come up with something completely new and incredibly old at the same time with his Mythago Wood series. By mining the rich vein of British myth and tying it to both the Jungian subconscious and the magical influence of an acient living forest he managed to create a fantasy work that was both epic in scope and personal in its resonance. It's a work that truly stands the test of time. In the first volume, _Mythago Wood_, we follow the story of Stephen Huxley who returns home from the war to his ancient family home in the countryside of Britain to find his brother, Christopher, a changed and haunted man. The family estate borders the enigmatic Ryhope Wood, a forest whose mysteries had obsessed their father, and now threaten to consume Christopher as well. As the story progresses we begin to discover some of the mysteries uncovered by the elder Huxley and see that the wood is much more than a simple is somehow a nexus for the mythical imagery of humanity and, when people come into close contact with it, can generate 'mythagos', or living embodiments of their mythic figures. In addition we soon discover, through the journeys of the brothers, that the forest distorts both time and space, becoming larger as you go inside and taking you further back into mankind's prehistory. The story itself becomes a complex family conflict as first the Oedipal battle between Christopher and his father is acted out and then, inevitably, that of Christopher vs. his brother Stephen. All of these battles are undertaken in the name of Gwyneth, an alluring mythago whose charms manage to enamour all of the Huxley men. In addition the desire to uncover the ultimate meaning behind the forest's mysterious power push the Huxley's to overcome the obstacles and traps that the forest constantly puts in their way.

  • KatHooper
    2019-01-29 06:27

    ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.After his post-WWII convalescence in France, Steven Huxley is returning to his family's home on the edge of Ryhope Wood, a patch of ancient forest, in Britain. For as long as Steven remembers, his father, who recently died, had been so obsessed with the forest that it destroyed their family.Upon returning home, Steven finds that his brother Christian is quickly following in their father's footsteps -- both figuratively and literally -- for he has also discovered that this is no ordinary forest! It resists intrusion from Outsiders, time and distance are skewed there (so it is much larger inside than the 6 miles it covers in modern Britain should allow, and time seems to expand), and strange energy fields interact with human minds to create mythagos -- the idealized forms of ancient mythical and legendary creatures, heroes, and villains formed from collective subconscious hopes and fears. So, for example, if you strolled through Mythago Wood (if you could get in) you might encounter Robin Hood, King Arthur, Talos, Freya, or perhaps some more generic version of a popular legendary ideal. You might walk down a Roman road or stay in a medieval castle or a Germanic tribe's hut. And when you come out, you may have been gone only half the time you spent inside Mythago Wood.The destruction of the Huxley family has been caused by the creation, out of father Huxley's mind, of Guiwenneth, the mythago of an idealized red-haired Celtic warrior princess who occasionally comes out of the woods. Mr. Huxley was obsessed with her (and this is what eventually led to both Mrs. and Mr. Huxley's deaths) and, when Steven arrives, Christian, who has become similarly obsessed, has been making forays into the forest in search of Guiwenneth. Before long, Steven gets pulled into the drama and the strange goings on in Mythago Wood.I was entranced by Mythago Wood from the first page. The writing is clear, lovely, and unpretentious. The story is told from Steven's viewpoint (first person, with diary entries and letters from a couple of other characters), so the reader feels emotionally involved. The pace is quick. The forest setting is beautiful.The first two thirds of the novel flew by. During this time, Steven is figuring out what's going on in the woods and he meets and falls in love with Guiwenneth (yes, the same girl that his father and brother loved). All of this was fascinating and highly emotional. I loved the premise of the story -- the wood that forbade entry to modern humans and was bigger in time and space inside than could be explained by it's physical dimensions. The existence in the wood of archetypal heroes and villains from across the ages, all living together at the same time, each in his own clothes and weapons. Cool stuff. I also thought the recollections of Steven and Christian about their father's work and coldness toward their family was poignant.But, somehow, when Steven and his companion Harry Keeton actually managed to get beyond the defenses of the forest and were traveling through Mythago Wood, it was not as exciting as when Steven was only learning about the forest from his father's notes and his experiences with the mythagos who came out of the woods. Suddenly, it turned into a quest and struggle for survival that was not quite as fascinating as the learning process was, though there were definitely some fun parts.I did not understand how mythagos, if they are not real, can kill, be killed, or fall in love. Steven and Harry come up some revelations (about mythagos) that seemed to come out of nowhere. I am also not sure why these men are falling for Guiwenneth. The explanation is that she's the mythago of the Celtic warrior princess, and thus men can't help but fall in love with her. Steven mentions that she may be his mythago, but his father and brother fall in love with the same woman. She doesn't do much but giggle. Is that ideal? She has red hair, fair skin, she's slender and uses a knife. Maybe that's it?I never fully understood Harry Keeton's situation, which was wrapped up much too quickly, but I'm thinking that this will be addressed in a sequel. There were a few elements that seemed thrown in without purpose -- myths that didn't seem to fit, characters who Steven was told had to be "left behind" when he didn't even know they were with him. Perhaps we'll see them again.So, while I was quickly pulled in and I absolutely loved the first two-thirds of the book, I experienced moments of confusion in the last section. I'm sure I'd benefit from another reading of Mythago Wood -- it's that kind of book. Perhaps some of these things would be cleared up. Or, perhaps not. I believe that the novel was composed of three separate novellas, and that may explain some of the disjointedness.I'm going to read Lavondyss, the sequel to Mythago Wood. I loved this setting and the characters, and I'm hoping further reading will clear up my confusion. This review originally published at Fantasy literature's Robert Holdstock page.

  • Jared Logan
    2019-01-18 08:29

    What starts as an intriguing concept begins to unravel due to poor pacing and plotting.The premise of this one is really, really high-concept and it is thus:A family lives near an ancient 'old-growth' wood. This is a small forest that has existed since medieval times and even back before that. The father, a scholar, is obsessed with the wood and often disappears for weeks at a time to plumb its depths. Why he is gone for that long is a mystery to his family because, you see, the wood is not very big. After his death, his sons discover his journals and learn of the paranormal nature of the wood. The forest generates "mythagos", which are basically legends come-to-life: dangerous Robin Hood-type archers, celtic folk heroes, slavering beastmen. The world inside the wood is much larger than it appears from outside. When both brothers fall in love with a nature goddess mythago that strays from the wood, things get even weirder (and more nasty!)The writer Holdstock produces good solid prose but the very nature of the fantastical premise leads to sloppy plotting. The wood changes according to the perceptions of those traveling through it. The Mythagos, if destroyed, return later, alive and well. Basically, the entire tale is a journey into the collective unconscious. Very Jungian. Very Joseph Campbell. But I tend to dislike stories where the line between real and imaginary is too thin because there are no rules, so there is no meaning and there are no stakes. That's the problem here.Also, the characters aren't extremely believable. The principle protagonist learns of the unbelievable powers of the wood and believes it immediately. His love for the nature goddess seems coerced by her magical animal magnetism and not a real relationship, so it was hard to care about them being together.Many pages are spent delving into the past of the father but we learn early on what has happened to him. His backstory seems kind of moot after we learn his final fate. I kept thinking there was some revelation waiting in this back story but there wasn't. The author is good at atmosphere and building a mood. The book definitely has a sense of the creepy and mysterious. That's the best thing I can say about it. It may have won a World Fantasy Award in the 1980s, but I say give this one a pass.

  • Oscar
    2019-02-07 07:19

    Steven Huxley, poco después de finalizar la Segunda Guerra Mundial, regresa a Refugio del Roble, en Inglaterra, la finca en la que pasó la mayor parte de su vida junto a su hermano Christian, su madre enferma, y su padre, obsesionado con sus investigaciones sobre el cercano Bosque de Ryhope. Ahora, tras la muerte de sus padres, se encontrará con un envejecido y desmejorado Christian, aquejado de la misma obsesión que su padre. Tras investigar en los escritos de este, Steven llegará a la conclusión de que algo misterioso se oculta en el bosque, un lugar donde tiempo y espacio se distorsionan.‘Bosque Mitago’ (Mythago Wood, 1984), del británico Robert Holdstock, es una maravillosa novela, en la que es mejor adentrarse sabiendo lo menos posible, dejándose envolver de su melancólica atmósfera. La historia está muy bien escrita (o traducida), y es una delicia dejarse llevar con cada párrafo. En mi opinión, una joya imprescindible.

  • aPriL does feral sometimes
    2019-02-18 06:44

    Most forests today and in the recent past are only a few centuries old or less. But there still remain a few forests which have been on earth for millennia. In these deep dark old places it is rumored beings which can only live in the most ancient impenetrable deep woods can yet be occasionally seen. It is said the mythological creatures of old deep woods need to be placated and bribed with gifts of blood and flesh if you live near such a forest. People also carve magical symbols into the rock and wood of ancient forests, hoping to magically confine these spirits of Nature away from the homes of people, but some people seek out these dangerous ghosts of rock, tree, mud and flora. Such a one was Steven Huxley's father, George Huxley.Steven never knew what his father was doing in the woods near his parents' house, Oak Lodge. Steven felt abandoned by George, who left for weeks, even months, hiking and camping in the forest next to their house in Herefordshire, England. When George was home, he remained in his study with old books and papers. Jennifer, George's wife, shared in whatever obsessed George, but she became depressed and took her own life. Steven and Christian, George's sons, could not understand why or what their father was pursuing in Mythago Wood. When World War II started, both boys left for Europe to fight in the war. Afterwords, Christian returned to Oak Lodge, while Steven remained with friends in France. Then, George died in 1946, and Christian wrote Steven of a marriage to a Guiwenneth, a beautiful girl. Finally, late in 1947, Steven reluctantly decided to come back to England. His first view of the house surprised him as it was a bit rundown and worn. But when he saw his brother Christian, Steven was shocked. Christian was dirty, thin and nervous. Worse, he smelled horribly, as if he had not bathed in a week. Plus Christian is wearing a long beard! And, where was Christian's wife? Christian doesn't want to talk about it. Then, Christian says, ""I've been going through a few changes, that's all. I've been picking up on the old man's work. Perhaps a bit of his reclusiveness is rubbing off on me, a bit of his detachment.""The next morning, Christian tells Steven he must go into the woods ""Inwards,"", where he disappears with a rucksack for several weeks. Two weeks after Christian hiked into the woods, Steven finds a woman's body buried under the chicken huts....'Mythago Wood' is a beautifully written homage to the traditional Celtic and Welsh fairy tales of creatures living in the deep forests (and Carl Jung's theories: I do not mean the emasculated versions designed for modern Western children - I refer to the more violent and raunchy ancient versions which entertained and terrified hunters and farmers before the Romans invaded England. These fairy tales were myths about imagined (or real) magical tree beings and transformed woodsmen or vegetation god or goddess warriors living in deep forests. Many of these ancient tales are about the mythical Green Man: Another is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Guinevere is also a character which is based on older myths, but she has become gentrified. Druid stories (, too, figure into the writing of 'Mythago Wood'. Author Robert Holdstock has re-purposed these ancient popular tales into an entirely new and romantic myth with gorgeous poetic writing. If you find walking in the woods peaceful and satisfying, reading this novel brings that experience to the fore, despite the underlying mysteries of blood and sacrifice haunting most ancient forests and Holdstock's Mythago series.A sample of Holdstock's writing:"I followed him inwards, seeking the easiest route between tangles of bracken and nettles, enjoying the heavy stillness. The trees were small, here at the edge, but within a hundred yards they began to show their real age, great gnarled oak trunks, hollow and half-dead, twisting up from the ground, almost groaning beneath the weight of the branches. The ground rose slightly and the tangled undergrowth was broken by weathered, lichen-covered stubs of grey limestone. We passed over the crest and the earth dipped sharply down, and a subtle change came over the woodland. It seemed darker, somehow, more alive, and I noticed that the shrill September bird-sound of the forest edge was replaced, here, by a sporadic mournful song."Oooooh, this is a good read!

  • Jason
    2019-02-02 12:24

    5 StarsThis will now sit in my all time favorite shelf as it an amazing piece of literary fiction, which just happens to be a fantasy. I am not going to summarize the story as much better reviewers than I have already done so, many times before. This nearly 30 year old novel that was first published in 1984, by Robert Holdstock, is still relevant today. I want to reiterate that this is truly a piece of literature first and a novel of fantasy second. It would sit better on the shelves about psychology, philosophy, religion, and history, than it would next to Hobbits, elves, dragons, and sorcerers. Holdstock pens a story that is written with quality in mind. He paints a complex canvas where most details are made vivid and real. The plots and themes are extremely deep and thought provoking, and at times a bit mind bending too. “Guiwenneth rose to her feet, motioned me to stay where I was, and stepped out into the clearing. Against the brighter torches she was a small silhouette, walking confidently to the middle of the glade, her spear held across her body, ready to be used if necessary.”The only author and book that came to my mind as I slowly read through this masterpiece was Willows by Algernon Blackwood. That classic piece of literature is a good reference to the feel of this book. The prose and the buildup of suspense and terror are similar. Even the themes between the two cross some lines. Blackwood is a world renowned classic writer that has won countless awards. To me, Holdstock outdoes the master with his book here. Mythago Wood is a deeply philosophical novel that will have you scratching your head and spending long amounts of time digesting the subtext. I was moved from the very beginning and sucked into this amazingly crafted landscape. Blackwood is not afraid to ask the tough life questions and as a result some may be offended. Mythago Woods is a book that explores tough questions. It is a religious story that is at the same time quite pagan. It will expand your mind with the deep themes and plots.This next passage is a good feel for the book and possibly a small spoiler too:“For my part I find it continually fascinating to think that Steven has become a myth character himself! He is the mythago realm's mythago. When he kills C the decay of the landscape will reverse. And since I am with him, I suppose I am part of the myth myself. Will there be stories told one day of the Kinsman and his companion, the stigmatized Kee, or Kitten, or however the names get changed? Kitten, who had once been able to fly above the land, now accompanying the Kinsman through strange landscapes, ascending a giant bridge, adventuring against strange beasts. If we do become legends to the various historical peoples scattered throughout this realm . . . what would that mean? Will we somehow have become a real part of history? Will the real world have distorted tales of Steven and myself, and our quest to avenge the Outsider's abduction? I cannot remember my folklore well enough, but it intrigues me to think that tales -of Arthur and his Knights, perhaps (Sir Kay?) - are elaborate versions of what we are undertaking now!”I have to say that this book deserves more praise and garner than it has achieved. It demands your attention, stretches your imagination, and leaves you wanting…I loved this book and have no doubt that so too would you!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Andrew
    2019-01-18 07:17

    This has been sitting on my TBR pile for longer than I care to admit to - and now I have finally got around to reading it - its becoming a bit of a tradition my Christmas binge reading.Anyway the book - it pretty much follows the plot outlined on the back of the cover. Okay so how does that work well the story itself is pretty straight forward, what the real mystery is and really the most intriguing character are the woods themselves. Strange things go on here and its hard to talk about them without giving the storyline away just to say that the book plays on the primal fears and imaginations of what goes on in the deep dark works just over the way.There is a lot of mythological references both real and imaginary but do not let it put you off the story really is how we deal with the unknown and how we deal with it when forced to face it. The book itself is often listed as a modern classic - that and the subsequent sequels are listed in the top titles (as shown by their recent reprinting in the Fantasy Master series - still think the cover of my copy is better). So make your own mind up if you think it should be or not but you cannot deny that there is a lot more going on in this book than what you first thought.

  • Laure
    2019-02-16 12:23

    This is a different story and I enjoyed reading it. I liked the Lovecraftian overtones at the start of the novel and I wish they had been sustained throughout the whole story. The world and myth building was excellent. The only drawback was the lack of empathy I felt for the main characters. The love story was (in my opinion) quite phony - I could not relate to Steven falling for this 'caricature' of a woman, and knowing she is just after all a feminine ideal he created just add to the sense of distance. If we had had a female protagonist with her own mythago creatures, I might have thought differently but this felt very 'male' to me. I am curious though to see what happens in the rest of the series and I will be checking it out.

  • Andy
    2019-01-31 12:15

    Rating in the high 3's, so round upto 4 stars as tis summit different & for the most part engaging.Lion, the witch & the wardrobe for adults perhaps......? As it has mythical elements, enchantment & aspects of time travel through a wood. I think my updates along the way will let you know whats involved & how the journey unravels..... if it's mythical figures through time, touch of paranormal, heroic figures, a damsel..... one more of a Celtic nature though so defo not a fairy princess to be rescued..... an evil character or two.... then this is a read for you friends.

  • Miquel Codony
    2019-01-24 10:36

    Me resulta muy difícil valorar este libro en caliente —me va a ir de fábula poder discutirlo en The Spoiler Club—. Por un lado me parece un hallazgo y una magnífica utilización de la literatura fantástica para explorar del significado del folclore y la mitología para el desarrollo de la cultura humana, y de nuestra psicología. La idea en la que se cimenta el libro es brillante. Es una lectura estimulante, sugerente llena de buenas ideas y, en muchos sentidos, imaginada en estado de gracia. Lo fundamental es eso, y creo que es una de las lecturas fundamentales del género, si es que eso existe.Por otro lado, la ejecución es irregular y tengo la sensación de que pasa demasiado tiempo poniendo las piezas necesarias para resolver la tercera parte del libro, que de hecho ocupa cerca de la mitad de las páginas y es alucinante de principio a fin. La segunda parte, sin embargo, tiende a perder el rumbo y a caer en la redundancia, y aunque nunca llega a aburrir no vuela tan alto como el resto del libro. Para mi lo más interesante del planteamiento inicial es, curiosamente, la parte menos narrativa, la recuperación de diarios y cartas en los que se investiga la naturaleza de Bosque Mitago.Creo que es uno de esos casos en los que el resultado final es mayor que la suma de sus partes o, como diría ese otro héroe de leyenda, "is bigger in the inside". Una imagen, por otra parte, que le viene que ni pintada a Bosque Mitago.Creo que ponerle 5 estrellas es un error pero con 4 tengo la sensación de quedarme corto. Me reservo el derecho a cambiar de idea.

  • Wanda
    2019-01-18 10:40

    I wish that I had liked this book more. After all, the dude in the helmet on the cover is cool. It has so many good ideas in it, avenues that I would have been interested in pursuing. But I just didn't connect with the characters. I don't get it. Why do none of these men, father & two sons, talk to each other? They all know that the woman whom they are fixated on isn't real--the author goes to great pains let us know through them that she is made of branches, leaves and soil. And yet, they all focus on her and ignore one another. Why all the silence? I may not see eye to eye with my sisters all of the time, but the ties between us are strong--I just couldn't find the rivalry of Chris and Steven to be believable. And they ignored all of the things that I found intiguing: ancient languages, lost peoples, a potential way back to the Ice Age....all of that potential ignored. Maybe some of this will be addressed in the six sequels? (Really? Six?) Do I dare read the next one in hopes of improvement?

  • Омаира
    2019-01-23 07:45

    5.0 “Guiwenneth susurró mi nombre, y yo susurré el suyo” El bosque Ryhope es un lugar mágico, un lugar donde los mitos toman forma corpórea y viven. Aquellas historias legendarias, susurradas y transmitidas muchas de forma oral, habitan allí dentro. En su vasta extensión,el bosque jamás ha sido explorado por el ser humano. Nadie sabe exactamente qué hay allí dentro. Pero el padre de Christian y Steve se interna en él, descubre la existencia de unos seres míticos y los denomina «mitagos» (mito imago) e intenta desentrañar la naturaleza de estos.Años más tarde cuando finaliza la Segunda Guerra Mundial, Steven regresa a su casa después de un periodo de convalecencia y Christian le confiesa que ha retomado la investigación sobre los mitagos y el misterioso secreto que anida en lo más profundo del bosque. Mientras tanto se había unido en matrimonio con una mujer mitago llamada Guiwenneth, ahora muerta. Llevado por la esperanza de reencontrarse con su amada, se adentra en el bosque y deja a Steven solo, como mucho antes su padre hacía con su familia. Steven, sin poder evitarlo, poco a poco también se sentirá atraído por el misterioso bosque.Bosque Mitago se ha convertido en una de mis mejores lecturas de este año e incluso de toda mi vida. Conocí este libro gracias a Xanetia y se trataba de uno de los libros que más le habían influenciado. Y realmente no sabía con qué exactamente me iba a encontrar. Está claro que nada es completamente original, pero sí tengo que reconocer que los mitagos, su naturaleza y el bosque me ha parecido una idea realmente innovadora. No nos encontramos con un argumento trillado y utilizado por muchos autores, como puede ser la historia de Romeo y Julieta. Nos encontramos ante una historia que si no podemos llamarla original está muy cerca de serlo.Los mitagos son seres físicos extraídos de leyendas de cualquier época histórica, producto de la imaginación de los hombres. La mayoría de veces el hombre no es consciente de que lo ha hecho, es decir, que al creer en ellos les ha insuflado, indirectamente, vida. Me ha recordado todo esto a una versión que vi de pequeñita de la Odisea de Homero en la que se habla en otros términos sobre este asunto: los mortales a fuerza de creer en los Dioses, estos llegaron existir, es decir, ser de “carne y hueso”. Pero cuando los rechazaron y comenzaron a adorar a otro Dios, estos desaparecieron, porque nadie los seguía. “Las hermanas eran gemelas, ambas hermosas, de hablar dulce y hábiles con el arpa. Pero una de ellas se había casado con el jefe guerrero de una gran tribu, y pronto descubrió que su vientre no podía concebir. Se volvió tan agria como la leche que ha quedado demasiado tiempo expuesta al sol. La otra hermana se había casado con un guerrero exiliado llamado Peregu. El campamento de Peregu estaba en los más profundos desfiladeros de la parte más lejana del bosque, pero acudía junto a su amada en forma de lechuza. Ella acababa de tener una hija, pero, como Peregu estaba exiliado, la hermana de rostro amargado y su ejército se habían presentado para llevarse a la criatura” Y es que este libro además de contar con una historia ya de por si hermosa, está hermosamente bien escrita. Robert Holdstock dota a su libro de descripciones hermosas, llenas de vida, y de magia. Sabiduría y belleza se cogen de la mano y hacen que una historia como esta te cale hasta lo más hondo. Por otra parte, los personajes de este libro me han gustado mucho. Para mí, en el conjunto de toda la novela, me han parecido muy bien trabajados. Tenemos a Steve, quien a lo largo del libro podemos ver cómo va evolucionando. Primero, no muy receptivo con el mundo que le rodea y luego en sintonía con el bosque. Guiwenneth, hermosa, fuerte y dulce. Porque ella demuestra que se puede amar incondicionalmente, y no por ello tienes que depender de nadie para sobrevivir. Christian, un personaje que me ha sorprendido mucho a lo largo de la lectura. Me encontré con un personaje misterioso que al principio puede dar una impresión para lo que después se convertirá y al final demuestra ser un pilar del libro. Y Keeton, un buen amigo de Steve, y al igual que este me encantó su evolución, y al final del viaje me recordó a ese tipo de personajes que tanto me esfuerzo en crear. Robert Holdstock no solo sorprende al lector con una ambientación y una escritura fuertes, seguras y elegantes, también con unos personajes dignos de admiración.La relación amorosa me ha gustado mucho, porque aunque no queda en segundo plano (y es parte de la historia completamente) está bien tratada. Con madurez pero con inocencia y más cariño y afecto que otra cosa. O soy yo, o en los años 80 sabían hacer las cosas como tocaba (no creo que sea yo, la verdad).No lo he dicho pero toda la parte mitológica está muy bien realizada y documentada. El autor ahonda en los mitos. No se queda con la punta del iceberg, investiga lo que hay bajo el agua. Me ha recordado en muchos momentos a Cuentos de un soñador de Lord Dunsany, por la forma de narrar los mitos y a veces, levemente, a La colina de los sueños de Arthur Machen, sobre todo porque el personaje de Steven me recordaba a Lucian. Y si RH se ha inspirado en sus escritos, me alegro, ambos unos maestros. El final (como casi todo el libro) me ha parecido el adecuado y el único que hubiese podido aceptar, aunque con pesar. No me ha parecido ni demasiado precipitado, ni demasiado cogido por las pinzas. Y el epílogo me dejó hecha un flan, para qué negarlo. Ese epílogo será recordado por los siglos de los siglos. Concluyendo, si sois asiduos lectores de fantasía, debéis leer este libro. Un libro de cabecera en este género. Un libro de culto. Y no, no estoy exagerando. Ojalá.

  • Colleen
    2019-01-23 05:22

    While the concept is awesome, I find myself agreeing with those who think this book is just so-so. I won't rehash everything in detail, I'll just hit the main objections:*There's nothing likeable about any of the characters, all of whom remain ciphers from beginning to end.*Nobody ever bloody talks to each other in the way that normal folks do when confusion exists, which makes the relationships unbelievable.*The love story isn't even remotely romantic. He loves that she smells bad and hangs out in trees. Well all right then.*LOTS of telling and not showing. LOTS of repetitious ideas. Not a whole lot going on for very long stretches. Dad's diaries, our main source for understanding what the heck is going on, are a really big drag.*I couldn't determine whether all the mythical characters were based on actual myths or just made up by the author. I kept wanting Steven to ground us somehow with the less familiar legends, to reassure us that elements of them had indeed passed down through the collective memory of British culture, even if the stories themselves had been lost to the mists of time. After all, Steven had spent months and months in that house with no job and no friends--why NOT study the old legends, familiarize himself (and us) with what lived in the woods? In fact, that is ultimately my chief objection. I wanted Steven to meet Robin Hood and Arthur and Merlin and other familiar characters, and then afterward get drawn into the more obscure legends. Perhaps he might've taken the time to learn other eras' languages (note that it was incumbent upon Guinneth to learn modern English)and so learn something new about the legends. Instead, the denizens of the wood exist in a whirling, aggressive, noncommunicative mishmash.*Finally, the whole Harry Keeton aspect to the story was perfectly bizarre. Real people would've had an actual discussion after the plane ride. Harry would have revealed his experience in France and his interest in photographing that wood. Steven would have explained what he knows about the woods. Instead, when things happen everyone simply takes them for granted.

  • Pablo Bueno
    2019-01-19 06:23

    Aquí podéis ver el programa que le dedicaron a esta joya del fantástico en el Spoiler Club. Un verdadero placer haber podido participar.¡No os lo perdáis!

  • Jim
    2019-02-14 09:28

    I would classify this book as high concept fantasy. Certainly, it is not to everyone's taste. I can sympathize with this, as sometimes I feel like I admire this book more than enjoy it. Holdstock works through a lot of interesting ideas. The title Mythago Wood refers to a stand of West Midlands primeval forest that, like the TARDIS, is bigger within than without. The forest has an aura that interacts with the mytho-creative aspects of people's minds to produce mythagos, which are expressions of mythic archetypes.I have read this book multiple times, and if I have a criticism, it is that the book gets a little lost in its concepts to the detriment of story. The basic plot revolves around two brothers, their distant, obsessive father, and a romantic triangle (quadrangle) involving one of the female mythagos. Holdstock is brilliant at character development, and the ideas he works with are certainly interesting, though pretty familiar to anyone who has read much of the fantasy published since. When it is focused on plot, I think it's great. When it wallows in the concepts, it suffers a bit but is still worth reading.

  • Insomnia
    2019-02-04 10:21

    Viena no manām pirmajām nopietnajām fantāzijas grāmatām, tik pat laba kā pirmo reizi lasot!Mitago mežs manas domas pilnībā nekad neatstāja pēc pirmās izlasīšanas - šad un tad piefiksēju, ka domāju par pašu mežu, tajā mītošo un tā īpašībām. Tas spēcīgi iespiedās manā atmiņā gan kā kaut kas fantastisks gan biedējošs. Daudz ko gan neatcerējos, bet tas pārlasīšanu padarīja tikai interesantāku. Viens no labākajiem un maģiskākajiem fantāzijas darbiem ko jebkad esmu lasījusi. Laikam jāķeras pie pārējām daļām.Bet tās beigas... Es tā nosmējos par to ironiju. (view spoiler)[Hej, brāl, ķer veiksmes talismanu! *trāpa to brālim pa seju, viņš nogrīt gar zemi un dzīvs sadeg ugunī.* Oh well, visi tāpat gribēja viņu mirušu...(hide spoiler)]

  • Carmine
    2019-02-18 13:21

    La forza del mito e dei ricordi Nel panorama fantasy è sempre più difficile trovare un'opera originale, o che non vada a riproporre in maniera pedissequa canovacci già letti decine di volte."La foresta dei mitago", primo di una tetralogia di volumi autoconclusivi, scongiura questo pericolo.La concezione del mito, nonché il fascino dello stesso nella sua perpetua rielaborazione durante il tempo, è il cardine principale su cui si delinea la foresta di Rhyope, autonoma realtà spazio-temporale che sfugge alla comprensione umana.L'intensa matrice antropologica e storica, unita ad una efficace componente psicologica - impossibile non ravvisare le analogie con Solaris, tralasciate le evidenti differenze derivanti dal genere -, rendono l'opera particolarmente complessa e sfaccettata nella sua linearità di fondo.Il finale è contemporaneamente pregio e difetto del libro: da una parte esplodono tutte le pulsanti idee (potenzialmente infinite) circa i mitago e il ruolo che ricoprono nel preservare questo magico luogo; dall'altra parte, e questo era anche preventivabile, si osserva una certa difficoltà nel tirare le fila della storia e definire con maggior chiarezza il contesto.

  • Greg Strandberg
    2019-02-18 08:29

    This book really glued me to my seat. I remember reading it one time when I was going to Hong Kong.Going to HK from Shenzhen was an affair. You had to cross the border and take buses and trains and stand in line a lot. This book was really good, and the suspense is wonderful.If you want a good stand-alone fantasy book I recommend it. I bought the second book (can't remember it's name) but I never got around to reading it.Would I read it again? I think I would if I had to travel in HK again.

  • Tracey
    2019-01-30 12:25

    What a very satisfying read this turned out to be. Myths, magic and monsters all exist inside Ryhope wood, things that are summoned out of the mind buried legends ingrained in human psyche become terrifyingly real. This book grew on me over the first day or 2 of reading and now it's over I wish it weren't.I liked the ending of the story a few questions need answering though which I guess means I'll have to read the next book in the series. :) :)

  • Mark Hodder
    2019-02-15 09:25

    Brilliantly evocative and utterly captivating, this is a wonderful novel of the “can’t put down” variety. The central premise is intriguing and entertainingly explored in a style that makes every sentence count, every scene essential. No padding or excess verbiage here, just amazing storytelling with deeply psychological themes. A treat for the inner recesses of your psyche.

  • Roxana-Mălina Chirilă
    2019-02-03 11:18

    ---3.5 stars---„“This is the Island where Dreams come true.”“That's the island I've been looking for this long time,” said one of the sailors. “I reckoned I'd find I was married to Nancy if we landed here.”“And I'd find Tom alive again,” said another.“Fools!” said the man, stamping his foot with rage. “That is the sort of talk that brought me here, and I'd better have been drowned or never born. Do you hear what I say? This is where dreams—dreams, do you understand, come to life, come real. Not daydreams: dreams.”There was about half a minute's silence and then, with a great clatter of armour, the whole crew were tumbling down the main hatch as quick as they could and flinging themselves on the oars to row as they had never rowed before;”The above isn't a quote from "Mythago Wood" - it's a quote from C.S. Lewis's "Voyage of the Dawn Trader", a book I read a long time ago, but the dark island of dreams is still something I remember as well as if I'd read about it yesterday. And it sprung to mind while reading this because "Mythago Wood" is about the place where myths come true. And no matter how wonderful that sounds, one has to remember that fairy tales and myths were a lot darker than we tell them now, a lot bloodier, and much more dangerous. It's not all fun and magic, on the contrary.After the second world war, Stephen Huxley returns home from France, expecting to find his brother, Christian, happily married, living in their old family home after the death of their father. When he does, he finds a greatly changed man whose wife has vanished and who now shares their father's obsession with the small wood outside their home. Christian claims that their father discovered mythagos - or incarnations of myths - inside the woods, and that the two of them have seen them as children. Thus, he goes into the wilderness, bidding Stephen to stay behind as he searches for the myths of mankind, created and recreated from the subconscious racial memory of those who come into contact with the woods.Strange things start happening - odd people appearing around Stephen's house, the forest turning him around when he tries to enter it. But the oddest of all is finding Christian's wife buried in a shallow grave next to the chicken coops, while Christian insists she'll return again, since there have been many of her, and there will be many of her again.The story has a strange, mythical horror feel to it, and the atmosphere is wonderfully chilling and eerie. I feel bad explaining what I didn't like, but here we go: I don't feel like I recognize any mythagos - if they truly are from the depths of the human mind, shouldn't some of them feel more familiar? I'm not so sure about the way characters act and react, either - why is Stephen so madly in love with G., aside from the story demanding him to be?But otherwise, it's a strange and unusual story and worth a read.

  • Murray Ewing
    2019-02-09 13:16

    Steven Huxley returns from the Second World War to his family home at Oak Lodge. His father, who throughout his childhood was engaged in an obsessive and mysterious study of nearby Ryhope Wood, has died, and his elder brother, Christian, has taken over their father’s life’s work. The wood has the ability to generate ‘mythagoes’ — living embodiments of ancient myths — and though barely six miles in circumference has a seemingly infinite interior. Steven comes to learn that his brother fell in love with the mythago of a Bronze Age warrior princess, Guiwenneth, and is engaged in an ever-deeper search to find her again, a search that is constantly thwarted by the far more ancient and dangerous mythago of the primal myth of the Urscumug, a giant mix of man and wild boar, and which seems to have the face of Steven and Christian’s father. Then a new Guiwenneth emerges from the wood, and Steven falls in love with her. At this point Christian has been inside Ryhope for weeks, if not months, and when he returns, jealously desperate for his Guiwenneth, he’s a darkly changed man.Mythago Wood is a tangled mix of British folklore, myth & legend, psychological fantasy, and an exploration of the intra-familial rivalries, resentments, and loyalties of men. It’s also one of the most original fantasy novels of the 20th century, doing something genuinely new in mixing heroic fantasy, weird fiction, and science fiction in an attempt to understand the role of myth both ancient and modern in human life. A quest narrative, a tragedy, a tale of redemption, it’s one of my favourite novels.

  • whalesister
    2019-02-10 06:15

    Interesting, weird. Definitely a guy story--for one thing the romance doesn't work for me at all--and, both because the main character is an adult, and because of some mature subject matter, I would say a fantasy for adults, not teens. Interesting use of archetype/myth; I felt slung into the realm of the subconscious, and I'm not sure I wanted to be there. Finishing the book feels like waking up from a bizarre dream. Artistically well-done, although I felt way too distant from any of the characters to love the book. The style reminded me somewhat of Jules Verne, though more modern, and the story is better. A two, a three? Three for the very clever use of myth and nice writing, two because I just didn't really enjoy it and got pretty tired of phallic references. Nevertheless, I did read it in almost a single sitting. Something obviously worked. Maybe just the fact that I'm kind of obsessed with Joseph Campbell's ideas.

  • Nandakishore Varma
    2019-02-06 07:15

    This is an acclaimed book. The basic premise is the concept of mythagos, which are images from the Jungian collective unconscious, which take corporeal form inside Ryhope Wood. Those who go after the mythagos into the wood are permanently affected.There is a dreamlike quality to this book which I found endearing at the time of reading - however, much of the story did not stick with me. At the time of reading, I was not much into Joseph Campbell and Jung (that came later), so I was confused with many of the mythopoetic references.So the three stars are entirely subjective. If you are a serious purveyor of literary fantasy, most probably this will thrill you. I think it would be the same case with me on a re-read.

  • Ben Loory
    2019-02-06 09:29

    there was a lot in this book i really loved. my favorite was the part where the forest seems to reach out to subsume the house and the oaks start to sprout up through the floors. everything about the forest itself is great and there is a real sense of magic and mystery to the book; it really feels like fantasy as opposed to the kind of pseudo-medieval historical fiction that often goes by that name. also i think this is one of those books that will grow in my mind over time as the ideas and images linger and the sometimes undeveloped characters and murky motivations eventually fade away.