I had to reread this book when I heard TBS had made a miniseries out of it- watch it in July! I'll never forget first reading The Mists of Avalon- and I've read it about half a dozen times. I was fourteen, impressionable, and at my coming of age time of life. I must say that this novel, and discussions my friends and I had about it, helped shape my spiritual life and identity as a woman.
The Mists of Avalon is a retelling of the Arthurian legend from the viewpoint of the women from the story. Mostly, from the view of Morgaine, Arthur's sister, but also from the views of Igraine (Arthur's mother) and Gwenhwyfar (his wife). The main essence of conflict between the characters is religious. The old ways of worshipping the Goddess and the land are giving way to the upcoming religion of Christianity. Characters on both sides of the issue are passionate about their beliefs, and some are willing to die for their causes. Interesting and perhaps troubling questions arise for the reader. Is there one true religion? What is the true nature of the Creator? What is the fate of our souls after death? Those people who feel they already know the answers to these questions may be aggravated by this novel, the rest of us will feel challenged by these questions.
Another compelling reason to read this novel is the incredible details included in the story. It is, after all, over 800 pages long. Ms. Bradley did her research into what life was like in pre-Dark Age Britain, from the religions practiced and clothing worn down to what they ate for breakfast. I love imagining my novels like a movie, and details like these are a great help.
Some have raised concerns that there might be a radical feminist bent to the story. After all, it is told completely from the viewpoint of women. I feel this not to be the case, as every character- both the men and the women- have the complexities of both fine personality traits and good intentions, as well as flaws. The reader is able to connect with both the male and female characters.
Overall, a great novel- especially for those who enjoy women's fiction, fantasy, or the Arthurian legends.
Read all 44 Reviews
Write a Review