MAGIC CUP Paperback – Jan 1 1985
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
According to the legend, the tanaise is required to find and obtain the "magic cup", a lovely jeweled chalice, and the mysterious princess Delvcaem. Having accomplished these tasks he can claim Tara, his Kingdom, and make Ireland Christian.
On his journey he is accompanied by Briget, whom he calls biddy, and his mighty hound Podraig The challenges Cormac faces on his quest are interesting: monstrous animals and people; a seemingly endless sea with massive storms; mountainous natural barriers. The characters are real and the descriptions of locations and events are colorful and realistic. Greeley's depiction of being soaked in a rainstorm left me chilled and feeling wet. The author is especially talented at describing moods and dreams. Some of the dreams are so realistic I felt I was actually present. The descriptions are wonderful, however, even more fascinating are the interactions among the characters with their fears, joys, prejudices, and superstitions.
The relationship between Cormac and Briget is especially nice. They progress slowly from strangers through master and slave, and finally friends with mutual respect and admiration. Their interactions are vital to the tale. They endure sort of a courtship, testing each other, shyly observing each other, and helping and saving one another.
Cormac is similar to many of Andrew Greeley's males. He is clueless toward women. He knows he is attracted to them, feels the need for sexual encounter, but fears a real relationship with a woman. He does not understand women, but does not seem to realize the extent of his misunderstanding. Cormac starts as an intelligent but deeply depressed man who struggles to accept his destiny. He broods, dreams and demonstrates that he is unhappy about his role in life. It requires numerous adventures to awaken Cormac to his mission. Observing Cormac struggle through some of his challenges, I was often amazed that he could continue. The obstacles he encounters are impressive. He overcomes each trial, usually by the skin of his teeth.
Like many females that precede her, Briget is one of Greeley's strong Irish women. Bridget is a slave girl who is bonded to Cormac. She doesn't really treat Cormac as her better, or as master or King. She seems to believe that he is just a big oaf who needs her care. She sees herself as plain and unworthy, but is outspoken and often sarcastic. Briget is obviously gifted but unschooled and undisciplined. Her heart is generous and she takes good care of Cormac. She often dreams of becoming his queen and without realizing it she comes to love him.
I enjoyed meeting Cormac and Briget. This is a fun novel and I recommend it.
I saw it in the store today, picked it up, and I know I'll have it read again by the end of the night.
Well written, fun characters, written just like the old Andrew Greeley novels.
Thanks for re-releasing it!
This is the first book by Greeley that I've read, and that perhaps colors my opinion of his writing. Greeley includes a few pages of notes at the end of the novel to explain the origins of this ancient Celtic myth and how it later became translated and changed into a more Westernized and romanticized version of the Arthurian legends. This is perhaps the most interesting part of the novel, and the reason I rank this at 3 stars. I also appreciated Greeley's feel for the Irish countryside; his characters move in and out of these rich sounding villages and kingdoms, and that helps to create a very vivid atmosphere for the book. However, much of the novel focuses on Cormac fighting his desire for Biddy, on Biddy biting back at Cormac with an acid tongue, and on the two of them playing a will-they-won't-they sexual intrigue. There are a great many pages devoted to how some young wench looks in a wet gown. I found this to be quite tiresome, especially with lines such as "One could, after all, eat cheese and kiss a girl." I like the Arthurian legends, and I was looking forward to reading something that came from an even older myth. This is not the novel that I hoped to get lost in because I was constantly rolling my eyes at the descriptions of sexual chastity or voracity. This is, however, a quick read that most readers should be able to finish in an afternoon. You might want to read the afterward by Greeley first because that contains quite a bit of interesting history of the legend on which this tale is based.
(mellion108 from Michigan)