Where Three Roads Meet by Salley Vickers is the latest in the Canongate-sponsored Myths series (Canongate seems to have inexplicably given up the domain of the series homepage; LT series page here; n.b. The Fire Gospel is not actually out yet [in the States?]), which I have been following devotedly ever since first picking up The Penelopiad. There have been ups and downs in the series thus far, but this most recent appealed to me least.
Perhaps Three Roads was doomed from the start, as an adaptation of a myth I’ve never particularly cared for—that of Oedipus. But of all my complaints about the book, the storyline is the least of them.
First, we start off with an excerpt from Sigmund Freud on Oedipus. Then, Vickers provides us with a (thankfully) brief rundown of the last years of Freud’s life, from the time he was diagnosed with oral cancer until he died. This is not a pleasant history; I was not expecting to find a marginally nauseating account of the use of oral prostheses when I picked this book up, and I was not thrilled. The action does, however, take place during Freud’s last days, and it is appropriate for the reader to have some understanding of his decline.
That action being a dialogue between Freud and Tiresias, who first appears at Freud’s bedside after his first operation, then later many times leading up to Freud’s death. Tiresias is there to tell Freud the story of his life, beginning with his childhood as the son of a shepherd, through his time working at the Delphic oracle, his blinding by Athena, and, much later, his revelation that Oedipus has fulfilled the prophecy by killing his father and sleeping with his mother.
One issue is that Tiresias’ life
Continue reading Where Three Roads Meet by Salley Vickers