LITERATURE

Aesop’s Fables: The Cruelty of the Gods

Interlink. Apr. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781623719500. pap. $16. LIT
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Intended for adult readers, this new compilation of these ancient fables from writer Gébler (The Wing Orderly’s Tales) and illustrator Weston (Harmattan) is relentlessly dark and biting, with many tales revealing hard truths uncannily apposite to the inequalities of today’s world. Retelling the fables in modern vernacular, Gébler organizes the 190 myths into chapters dealing with particular human foibles and frailties, concentrating on the imbalance between the powerful and the powerless, and the ways in which greed, selfishness, and pride harm both the innocent bystander and the guilty party. Perhaps the most affecting and relatable entries are those dealing with the random cruelty of fate, often represented by the malicious fancies of supernatural agents, and Gébler packs an emotional gut-punch into each spare, succinct paragraph including these points.
VERDICT While there’s little comfort to be found in these tales that ruthlessly dissect human nature, this anthology is not without its charms, especially as found in the whimsical illustrations and witty, honest prose.

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