Thursday, March 09, 2017

Book Beginnings: The Mists of Avalon

The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley (first published 1982). These are the first lines of the book's Prologue:
Morgaine speaks . . .
In my time I have been called many things: sister, lover, priestess, wise-woman, queen.

About the Book:
In Bradley's masterpiece the legend of King Arthur "is for the first time told through the lives, the visions, the perceptions of the women central to it. For the first time, the Arthurian world of Avalon and Camelot with all its passions and adventures — the world that, through the centuries, each generation has re-created in countless works of fictions, poetry, drama — is revealed as is might have been experienced by its heroines: by Queen Guinevere, Arthur's wife (here called Gwenhwyfar); by Igraine, his mother; by Viviane, the majestic Lady of the Lake, High Priestess of Avalon; and, most important, by Arthur's sister, Morgan, who has come down to us as Morgan of the Faeries, as Morgan le Fay — as sorceress, as witch — and who in this epic retelling of the story plays a crucial role both in Arthur's crowning and destruction. Above all it is a story of the profound conflict between Christianity and the old religion of Avalon."

Initial Thoughts:

Well, I'm not sure I can really call them initial thoughts, since I've been thinking about reading this one for several decades now. So when I was looking around recently for a book with MIST in its title, for the Monthly Keyword Reading Challenge, this one immediately came to mind. This could be the year I finally tackle it — it's a real chunkster (somewhere between 800 and 1100 pages, depending on the edition), and I generally try to stay away from anything that long. I'm a slow reader and tend to get bored with anything over 300 or so pages. But I do love the Camelot story, and the idea of seeing it from the female point of view is very attractive. Maybe it's time to just settle down and devote some of my spring reading time to Guinevere and Arthur et al.

So? To read or not to read? Too long to bother with? Or just the right thing to get lost in this month? What d'ya think?

Oh, and the book has been translated into many languages over the years. One of the covers I really like is this one from an Italian edition. (And no, I don't read Italian — regrettably.)

Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


  1. just tackle it a chapter at a time. Or ten pages at a time. Don't look at the WHOLE thing and yes, you always were fond of Camelot!

  2. Oh, yes, a chunkster is definitely one to read in bits and pieces. When I was very young, I loved those long books (GWTW).

    But nowadays, I feel pressured to hurry up and move on, since my TBR is pretty big.

    Thanks for sharing...and enjoy. Here's mine: “EENY MEENY”

  3. When I see a book that's extremely long, I think, "I could read three books in the time it would take to read that one." However, if the story is good, then I'd give it a try. I hope you enjoy the book.
    My Friday post features Blueprints.

  4. I'll be reading this for a challenge later this year - I can't believe I've put if off so long. Thanks for sharing!

    Lauren @ Always Me


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