The Meat Tree

Overview

An absorbing retelling of the Blodeuwedd Mabinogion myth, this is a dangerous tale of desire, DNA, and incest within the wreckage of an ancient spaceship. An elderly investigator and his female apprentice hope to extract the fate of the ship’s crew from its antiquated virtual reality game system, but their empirical approach falters as the story tangles with their own imagination. By imposing a distance of another 200 years and millions of light years between the reader and the medieval myth, this tale of a woman...

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Overview

An absorbing retelling of the Blodeuwedd Mabinogion myth, this is a dangerous tale of desire, DNA, and incest within the wreckage of an ancient spaceship. An elderly investigator and his female apprentice hope to extract the fate of the ship’s crew from its antiquated virtual reality game system, but their empirical approach falters as the story tangles with their own imagination. By imposing a distance of another 200 years and millions of light years between the reader and the medieval myth, this tale of a woman made of flowers is made relevant in the distance future.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Former National Poet of Wales Lewis takes stylistic risks when writing the fourth branch of the Mabinogion series, the retelling of medieval Welsh tales in modern or futuristic contexts. Lewis has taken the myth of Blodeuwedd, a tale of metamorphosis and deceit, and placed it in the science-fiction mystery zone. Campion, the inspector of wrecks, and his apprentice Nona are "approaching the Mars Outer Satellite Orbit" to inspect an abandoned vessel and determine the fate of its missing crew. The answer lies in a Virtual Reality couch, where Nona and Campion must play the retelling of Blodeuwedd to discover the empty vessel's sinister secret. The story, which reads like a script, is told through a telepathic diary and a "Joint Thought Channel" both used by the characters . Such narrative devices limit the story's potential; some readers may feel cheated by the absence of stream of consciousness. The prose grows stales when characters must describe a scene for the reader's sake; however, the lack of a physical world beyond the characters' description is strangely appropriate for the secret contained in the empty vessel. The reinterpretation of the tale is compelling even if its form falters. (July)
From the Publisher
"Gwyneth Lewis's gripping and intelligent exploration of the fourth branch of the Mabinogi, Blodeuwedd's tale, does not disappoint."  —Times Literary Supplement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781854115232
  • Publisher: Seren
  • Publication date: 4/1/2013
  • Series: New Stories from the Mabinogion
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Gwyneth Lewis is a writer, a poet, and the recipient of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival Prize and a Mental Health in the Media Award. She is the author of Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book on Depression, Two in a Boat: A Marital Voyage, and six books of poetry. She is a fellow at Harvard University, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and an honorary fellow of Cardiff University.

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