Oct 23, 2019

Clash of the Gods of Death

by Clarence Haynes

True believers, please know that Otherland’s third Mythic Fiction Book Club discussion will be this Friday, October 25th, 7.30 pm at the Otherland Bookshop. As per usual, we’ll have snacks, drinks and stimulating analysis.

We’ll be focusing on the recently released 2019 novel Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. The book, an odyssey of sorts set in jazz age Mexico, follows the tribulations of Casiopea Tun, who unknowingly releases from a chest Hun-Kamé, the Mayan deity of death who was vanquished by his power-hungry brother Vucub-Kamé. With mortal and god physically linked, the injured deity informs Casiopea that they will be going to the city of Mérida, beginning a quest in which Hun-Kamé seeks to become whole again and regain power.

Moreno-Garcia spoke on her blog about the cultural origins of the underworld realm of Xibalba, where Hun-Kamé and his brother rule: http://www.silviamoreno-garcia.com/blog/welcome-to-xibalba/ She also discusses the role of owls in her work, inspired by the depiction of the birds in the ancient Mayan mythological text the Popol Vuh: http://www.silviamoreno-garcia.com/blog/the-owls/ (For more information on the Popol Vuh, please feel free to visit https://www.britannica.com/topic/Popol-Vuh and https://www.ancient.eu/Popol_Vuh/

For your pleasure, please see below a few discussion questions. We hope you’ll join us for the next MFBC meeting!

*Through various characters’ eyes, Gods of Jade and Shadow offers an array of sprawling locales for readers to explore. What’s your favorite spot depicted in the book? Why?
*How would you describe Casiopea’s transformation from book’s beginning to end? Though this is a fantasy-oriented title, does Casiopea’s evolution feel real and organic? How would you assess Moreno-Garcia’s use of characterization in the book? Do the characters seem true-to-life or more archetypal?
*Does your assessment of Hun-Kamé change over the course of the narrative? In what way and why, especially considering his transformation?
*What are points of comparison that can be made between Mayan myth and other types of mythology that you’re aware of? Are there any points of overlap that be seen in previous MFBC selections Circe and The Gospel of Loki?

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