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Pasiphae [Paperback]

Peter Huby
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

April 1 2002

Bestiality is one of the most enduring of sexual taboos. Peter Huby explores the dangerous passion of Pasiphae, Queen of Crete, who develops an extreme and uncontrollable passion for a white bull—a passion which she persuades the inventor Daedalus to help her consummate. This is one of the most powerful and haunting of Greek myths. The novel deals with extremes—not just in its focus on the taboo of bestiality—but all extremes of passion, power and revenge. An accessible retelling of a classic Greek myth.


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Product Description

About the Author

Peter Huby originally trained as a painter and printmaker. He has written and directed several independent films as well as work for the theatre. Pasiphae is his first novel.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Quality of Choice April 6 2003
Format:Paperback
06.04.03
What I most admire about Peter Huby's Pasiphae is the sense one gets of choice happening. Huby has chosen an expansive subject, one that is historically, mythically, culturally overloaded. He must have been contending with an amount of source material that could easily have overwhelmed. Even an excess of enthusiasm for his story-normally an author's friend-could have been dangerous under these conditions. Huby picks his way very carefully. Which is not to say over-cautiously. His choices seem guided more by a strong vision, a kind of trusty instinct or strange divining rod, than by laboured circumspection or excess systematicity. The evidence lies in the rhythm of the chapters: short (2-3 pages), neat, ebbing little tides: they wash in and slide out, shifting the sands of the story, washing up new characters, new ideas, stealing away others. Each chapter presents us with a single intense picture. The pictures move, but they move like the images in a flipbook move, they deliver us of compact motions, the stripped verb. But the real magic, I think, lies in the spaces between the chapters, because it is there that the story gets built. Because the chapters do add up, but it's an odd calculus. Threads of the story are insinuated, are strongly there as they dance and weave. They come alive in the between-times, seem to jump to life, are thrown shadowy and flickering on the wall. The sleight of hand, then, must have occurred in the quality of the choices Huby makes within his chapters: the moments of decision he presents, his character's smaller habits, the moments that test them, the stuff that's there to be read. The tight staccato prose, the economy of the story (both of which are mentioned by other reviewers), are outward manifestations of these canny choices. One consumes the story greedily, and can marvel at the book's dazzling mechanisms, Daedalus' own sorcerer at work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth Your Time July 4 2007
By J. Haley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I am mainly interested in plausible explanations for historical mysteries and mythological events. Consequently, although I liked the novel, this rating is not based solely upon its literary merits.

Huby does a good job explaining many aspects of the Theseus legend. The Labyrinth is, of course, the great palace at Knossos (commonly accepted by most scholars today). Daedalus gets the idea for his famous escape from kites. And Pasiphae's unnatural passion for the white (albino) bull is not pleasant, but it is convincing.

The only regret I have is that much is left to the reader's imagination. I suspect that is what Huby intended. Unfortunately, though, one is left with a nagging desire to know more--to understand more. An author's talent should not be sacrificed with abstractions. This is especially true when the subject (bestiality) is one which most writers would prefer to avoid.

Again, I enjoyed the book, but, for those who are interested in Theseus, I would also recommend:

Ariadne by June Brindel
Phaedra by June Brindel
The Bull from the Sea by Mary Renault
The King Must Die by Mary Renault
The Cretan Woman by Robinson Jeffers
Last of the Amazons by Steven Pressfield
Phaedra by Jean Racine
Theseus by Andre Gide
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Quality of Choice April 6 2003
By Kris Cohen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
06.04.03
What I most admire about Peter Huby's Pasiphae is the sense one gets of choice happening. Huby has chosen an expansive subject, one that is historically, mythically, culturally overloaded. He must have been contending with an amount of source material that could easily have overwhelmed. Even an excess of enthusiasm for his story-normally an author's friend-could have been dangerous under these conditions. Huby picks his way very carefully. Which is not to say over-cautiously. His choices seem guided more by a strong vision, a kind of trusty instinct or strange divining rod, than by laboured circumspection or excess systematicity. The evidence lies in the rhythm of the chapters: short (2-3 pages), neat, ebbing little tides: they wash in and slide out, shifting the sands of the story, washing up new characters, new ideas, stealing away others. Each chapter presents us with a single intense picture. The pictures move, but they move like the images in a flipbook move, they deliver us of compact motions, the stripped verb. But the real magic, I think, lies in the spaces between the chapters, because it is there that the story gets built. Because the chapters do add up, but it's an odd calculus. Threads of the story are insinuated, are strongly there as they dance and weave. They come alive in the between-times, seem to jump to life, are thrown shadowy and flickering on the wall. The sleight of hand, then, must have occurred in the quality of the choices Huby makes within his chapters: the moments of decision he presents, his character's smaller habits, the moments that test them, the stuff that's there to be read. The tight staccato prose, the economy of the story (both of which are mentioned by other reviewers), are outward manifestations of these canny choices. One consumes the story greedily, and can marvel at the book's dazzling mechanisms, Daedalus' own sorcerer at work.
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