The Gift - Lewis Hyde
his examples serve as a fascinating survey of human myth-making
| 12 Nov 2006
For the most part 'The Gift' is beautifully balanced, with a fluid style that eases the reader through what are, frequently, fresh ways of looking at ancient 'truths'. However, the degree of rigour at work varies, beneath this surface. The way Hyde assumes his readings of folk tales are an unquestionable short cut to the deeper machinations of the psyche out-stretches full credibility, though his examples serve as a fascinating survey of human myth-making. More illuminating are his etymological observations, drawing attention, as he manages to do, to links between 'virtue', 'virility', Sanskrit, the Bible, and the essential transience of 'the Gift'.
To those who care passionately about making things, and the imagination, 'The Gift' can seem to lack the fiery inspiration associated with its subject matter. In terms of tone, insight, and a very straight-talking kind of 'wit', it will satisfy even the most contemplative reader. [RJ Thomson]
The Gift' is published by Canongate. Out now. Cover Price Ã‚Â£15.00 hardback.