Every culture on Earth has crafted their own mythology and folklore to help explain and understand the world. Ever since I saw a live adaptation of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice as a child, I’ve been fascinated by world mythology and love to explore how it has influenced art throughout time. Below are some vivid and compelling novels based on various mythologies that will effortlessly transport you around the world.
8 Fascinating Novels of Ancient Folklore, Mythology, and Gods
THE ROBBER BRIDE is a genderswapped, modern look at a German fairy tale, featuring a group of women who discover that a mysterious figure from their past was not all that she seemed. An absorbing exploration of women, men, deceit, and solidarity, this novel will immediately sink its teeth in you.
In this evocative and resplendent novel from the Nobel Prize–winning author of THE REMAINS OF THE DAY, an elderly couple search for their missing son in post-Arthurian Great Britain. But why can’t they remember anything about him? Featuring ogres, Sir Gawain, and Saxon warriors, THE BURIED GIANT will transport you to a mystical land of legend.
With his signature humor and lyrical writing, Christopher Moore weaves a compelling modern fable of a nondescript insurance salesman whose life is turned upside down by Coyote—the ancient Native American trickster god. An unpredictable and laugh-out-loud funny novel from one of today’s most beloved comic authors.
A young woman with the power to see and interact with the spirit world embarks on a compelling, white-knuckled adventure in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Filled with exciting martial-arts action and fascinating Chinese folklore, this is a thrilling and masterful novel with an unforgettable heroine.
From the beloved author of AMERICAN GODS and CORALINE, this fantasy novel follows Fat Charlie as his life is changed forever by the death of his father. He discovers that his father was the incarnation of the West African god Anansi, and now his brother seems to have inherited his powers. With compulsively readable prose and chilling twists and turns, ANANSI BOYS is a modern classic.
In the novel, "Mr. Nancy", an incarnation of the West African trickster god Anansi, dies, leaving two sons, who in turn discover each other. The novel follows their adventures as they explore their common heritage. The book debuted at number one on The New York Times Best Seller list and won both the Locus Award and the British Fantasy Society Award in 2006. Genre-bending, scary and funny, this is Gaiman at his best.
With plenty of wit, charm, and vibrancy, the infamous trickster god Loki reveals the history of the Norse gods (and his own mischievous involvement in their fall). Joanne M. Harris brings a fresh take on this ancient being, and her novel will have you wanting to discover more about Norse mythology.
Experience Virgil’s AENEID as never before with this fascinating retelling from the perspective of Lavinia, the wife of a Trojan hero. With Ursula K. Le Guin’s redolent writing, LAVINIA gives voice to a legendary woman of antiquity and the universal desire to take control of your own destiny.
In The Aeneid, Virgil’s hero fights to claim Lavinia, with whom he is destined to found an empire. She herself never speaks a word. Now, the acclaimed writer and recent winner of the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, Ursula K. Le Guin, gives Lavinia a voice in a novel that takes us to the half-wild world of ancient Italy, when Rome was just a muddy village near seven hills.
This colorful and vivid collection of short stories from authors around the world explores our fascination with, and power of, the djinn (or genies). Featuring Neil Gaiman, Kamila Shamsie, J. Y. Yang, among others, these unputdownable stories effortlessly demonstrate the compelling variety of djinn and the supernatural.
A fascinating collection of new and classic tales of the fearsome Djinn, from bestselling, award-winning and breakthrough international writers.
Imagine a world filled with fierce, fiery beings, hiding in our shadows, in our dreams, under our skins. Eavesdropping and exploring; savaging our bodies, saving our souls. They are monsters, saviours, victims, childhood friends. Some have called them genies: these are the Djinn.
And they are everywhere. On street corners, behind the wheel of a taxi, in the chorus, between the pages of books. Every language has a word for them. Every culture knows their traditions. Every religion, every history has them hiding in their dark places.
There is no part of the world that does not know them.
They are the Djinn. They are among us.
With stories from: Nnedi Okorafor, Neil Gaiman, Amal El-Mohtar, Catherine King, Claire North, E.J. Swift, Hermes (trans. Robin Moger), Jamal Mahjoub, James Smythe, J.Y. Yang, Kamila Shamsie, Kirsty Logan, K.J. Parker, Kuzhali Manickavel, Maria Dahvana Headley, Monica Byrne, Saad Hossein, Sami Shah, Sophia Al-Maria and Usman Malik.