THE MAZE MAKER by Michael Ayrton


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Recreating Greek myths is a hazardous undertaking for the contemporary novelist. Mary Renault solved the problem largely through avoiding it. The King Must Die, for instance, historical sensibility of his time than a Clever and seductive romance with quasi-Freudian trimmings. On the other hand, Gide's rendering of the same matter is pretty much a philosophical monologue as spun by a French savant. In The Maze Maker, Michael Ayrton is much more ambitious than either Gide or Renault, but not quite as successful. More or less faithfully following the knotty events of the Daedalus-Icarus legend, Ayrton presents both the frothiness of fable itself and the slow flowering of modern-day ramifications. For Daedalus symbolizes in his various adventures (the famous labyrinth at Crete, the Minotaur, Queen Pasiphae and the Bull, the tragic for whom he had fashioned wings, and the death of Daedalus' son, Icarus, Cumaean Sybil) not only ""the cunning worker"" of ancient days, but also the aspiring scientist or technocrat of our century struggling to achieve absolute sovereignty over Nature or the Gods. In that context, Daedalus' relations with Apollo enter a timeless realm, and the most affecting sections in The Maze Maker are those in which existential parallels are most pronounced. Ayrton's style is gravely lyrical, with touches of Durrell-like elegance. A finely-drawn, fetching tale, though lacking the narrative spell of Renault or Gide's intellectual plays.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1967
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston