First collection is better

xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths - Kate Bernheimer, Laura van den Berg, Ron Currie Jr., Anthony Marra, Dawn Raffel, Maile Meloy, Willy Vlautin, Gina Ochsner, Madeline Miller, Manuel Muñoz, Benjamin Percy, Edith Pearlman, Joy Williams, Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud, Victor LaValle, Ben Loory, Elizabeth Mc


                This collection is not as good as the previous collection, though it does have slightly more international feel (several stories are translations). Despite the title, there is more than Greek mythology in play here as well. Perhaps because it is sadder, the term that Bernheimer uses in her introduction. Perhaps. But it also felt less magical and, in some cases, more like an audition.

                Regardless, there are some stunners in this book. In particular, “Labyrinth” by Ron Currie Jr, which uses the famous maze to tell about a different type of being loss?  

                The best story in the collection is “The Squid Who Fell in Love with the Sun” by Ben Loory. It is lovely, funny, touching, and beautiful. It is rivaled, though it does surpass, “Sawdust” by Edward Carey. “Devourings” by Aimee Bender does something to right the ignoring of a central character in some fairy tales.

There are several versions or influences by Demeter in this collection, so many that after awhile they seem to bleed together. Perhaps this is the reason why the collection is not as good as its older sister.