Read The Last Song of Orpheus by Robert Silverberg Online


In the course of his extraordinary—and prolific—career, Robert Silverberg has made an enormous contribution to imaginative literature. In The Last Song of Orpheus, his longest story in more than a decade, Silverberg has given us one of his most remarkable accomplishments, a resonant recreation of one of the central myths of western civilization.In this mesmerizing narrativIn the course of his extraordinary—and prolific—career, Robert Silverberg has made an enormous contribution to imaginative literature. In The Last Song of Orpheus, his longest story in more than a decade, Silverberg has given us one of his most remarkable accomplishments, a resonant recreation of one of the central myths of western civilization.In this mesmerizing narrative, Orpheus—wanderer, demigod, and master musician—recounts his own astonishing story. That story ranges from the depths of the Underworld, where he attempts to rescue his beloved but doomed Eurydice, to the farthest, most dangerous corners of the ancient world, where he journeys in search of the legendary Golden Fleece. It is a tale of men and gods, of miraculous encounters, of the binding power of inescapable Fate. More than that, it is a meditation on the power of the creative spirit, and on the eternal human search for balance and harmony in a chaotic universe. Beautifully constructed and masterfully written, The Last Song of Orpheus is Silverberg at his incomparable best, showing us a deeply familiar series of scenes, themes, and characters from a fresh, wholly original perspective....

Title : The Last Song of Orpheus
Author :
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ISBN : 9781596063891
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 136 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Last Song of Orpheus Reviews

  • Stephen
    2019-05-12 03:19

    Dream-like, disorientating and delicious describes perfectly my thoughts about this lyrical novella by one of the true masters of speculative fiction. In The Last Song of Orpheus, Silverberg faithfully, yet engagingly, retells the life story or Orpheus through the demi-god’s own first-person narrative. While some might argue that there is nothing really new here, I would counter (with much huffing and puffing) that I believe Silverberg adds two new pieces to the body of the well known “Orpheus Cycle” that make this a worthwhile addition and well worth reading, even for those familiar with the story of the demi-god. First, Silverberg ratchets up the pathos by showing Orpheus as an eternally tragic figure doomed by Fate to forever relive the various aspects of his life in a continual, never-ending cycle. As Orpheus describes it:THIS WILL BE my last song, which I make for you, Musaeus my son, telling all there is to tell of my life. My last song, but also my first, for in the my end is my beginning, and for me there are no end and no beginnings but only the circle that is eternity...Time, curves round itself and grasps its tail in its mouth. I stand outside; I contain evereything; I perceive the alpha and the omega and for me they do not have the same order of being and arrangement that they do for you...My yesterdays are my tomorrows, my tomorrows are my yesterdays. It is decreed that I must forever reenact my past, which is indistinguishable from my future, both of them constituting an eternal present. This massive, ever-after burden of memory, time and loss gives the story of Orpheus an even more epic quality and imbues the narrative with a greater sense of power and importance.Score one for Robert. The second of Silverberg’s contributions is his scholarly gathering of all of the inconsistent, fragmentary and scattered stories of Orpheus and bringing them together into a cohesive framework that not only supplies answers to the various inconsistencies, but also provides an ingenious explanation for why the tales of Orpheus are so diverse and dispersed. Again, Silverberg takes a powerful, familiar story and injects a massive dose of scale and importance to it. The man is just good!!Score two for Robert. Using this first person narrative, Orpheus seamlessly recounts his life. From the gift of his legendary lyre by the sun god Apollo, to the meeting of Eurydice, their powerful but fleeting love affair and the tragic and deeply moving story of Eurydice’s twin deaths.We see Orpheus with the pharaohs of Egypt and his epic journey with Jason and the Argonauts to recover the Golden Fleece. Finally, we are mute witnesses to the demi-god's violent and tragic death(?) that Silverberg masterfully describes with an understated, detached quality that added real force to the scene.Throughout this brief novella, we see the life of Orpheus as something both intimately recognizable and cosmically mysterious...exactly as the author intended. Silverberg’s prose, as usual, is deft, fluid and grandmasterish in its execution and perfectly complements the ephemeral tone of the tale. I found the story silky and breezy yet moving and subtly powerful. This is myth done right and I dub this novella a successful return of one of the best in the business. 4.0 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

  • Nikki
    2019-05-19 06:30

    The Last Song of Orpheus is an interesting novella, drawing together the various legends and scraps of lore about Orpheus, and weaving them into a coherent whole, ironing out the contradictions and unifying everything with a few little additions of Silverberg's own. Parts of it are very beautiful, prose-wise, and the overall idea enchanted me.There's something about the narration that's just a bit too distant, somehow. In one way it suits the story very well, matching the mythic register; in another way, it bothers me. Even when he's singing of his loss of Eurydice, he's also outside the pain, accepting and transcending it. And again, in a way that's effective and quite right for his character and the way Silverberg sets up his story, but... It didn't quite work for me.This is definitely worth a read, though, if you're interested in Greek/Roman myths and especially the story of Orpheus. It's a very interesting reinterpretation.

  • KatHooper
    2019-05-15 00:37

    ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.Finally. After all of the conflicting information we get from the numerous myths, legends, writings, and operas about Orpheus, we have the true story told by Orpheus himself as he writes his life story for Musaeus (with some help from Robert Silverberg).In The Last Song of Orpheus, all the bits and pieces of Orpheus's life are tied together into a single chronological narrative and Orpheus tells his own version of how he obtained his famous lyre and used it to charm Pharaoh, the Furies, Persephone, Charon the Styx ferryman, and Cerberus the three-headed dog. He also tells the tale of his disastrous voyage with Jason and the Argonauts when they set out to recover the Golden Fleece and he relates some juicy tidbits about other heroes of legend such as Heracles and (my favorite) Odysseus. Some things he's kept to himself, "neither confirming nor denying" popular rumor, but he does take the chance to explain why he turned back and looked at Eurydice as they were leaving the Underworld.There's not much new in The Last Song of Orpheus — you've likely heard these stories before. But there is much beauty here:There is no sound like the sound of the lyre. It does not pierce one's ears like the sound of the flute, nor does it shake the hills like a properly struck drum, nor set the heart atremble with warlike impulses like the cry of the trumpet. But it achieves other things, and they are great things, for it is perfect for the accompaniment of the human voice, fitting the contours of the singing tone the way a woman's body fits a man's.I especially enjoyed listening to Orpheus explain how "music is the divine mathematics" and that the universe, with its planets and moons in perfect relation to each other, like the chromatic scale, is really an infinitely large "harmonious mathematical structure." He implies also that the inner workings of a single cell are likewise arranged, and these ideas, I think, are truly beautiful.

  • Stacey
    2019-05-20 08:12

    The Last Song of Orpheus was kind of a Cliff's Notes version of a whole lot of mythology surrounding the demigod musician Orpheus. Not that it was dry (like Cliff's Notes,) just that it was... succinct - kind of a "here's what really happened." I particularly liked the interpretation of the Golden Fleece saga. My current addiction is mythology, legend and fairy tale, and Last Song scratched the itch.

  • Paul Peterson
    2019-05-03 04:31

    Loved this book. It is an easy read, told in the voice of Orpheus himself, and touching on several of the great Greek myths. Recommended as an introduction for anyone looking to cleanse themselves of ignorance in Greek classics.Favorite quotes:"I felt a kind of ecstasy spread through me as I seized upon the understanding that music was not just a series of pleasant sounds, but the epitome in sound of the balance and order of the universe. That music and that order are the work of the One God whom men know by many names, by which everything is connected to everything, issuing forth the endless continuous song that is the harmony of the cosmos.""And the gods decreed also that I had to learn not only love but the suffering that comes with the loss of one's beloved, and to experience the redemption that comes after the most acute and profound pain.""Everything was exactly as I knew it would be, and nevertheless each day was a fresh time of surprise and wonder. That is the paradox of my life, that I march constantly onward into that which is ordained for me and which I have experienced so many times before, and as each event befalls me it is both new and old, a recapitulation that is also a discovery.""And I saw the stars shining by day all about him, pulsing and quivering like drumheads beating of their own accord, filling the heavens with all their many colors, and I heard once more those thousand thousand lyres all at once, and the stars were singing their blessed song, that vast eternal harmony, that celestial music that has ever been my joy."

  • Etienne
    2019-05-22 06:37

    Pour un livre inédit considéré comme un événement, j'avoue être bien déçu. Je sais que cet auteur est reconnu, mais c'est la première fois que je le lis et je ne suis pas plus impressionné qu'il faut, bien que je lui laisserai une deuxième chance avec une histoire entièrement de son cru. En gros, ce livre raconte le mythe d'Orphée, je me rappelais très bien la première partie, dans laquelle y ira traverser l'enfer pour retrouver sa bien-aimée. Cette partie est bien fait et intéressante. Ensuite, il accompagnera Jason dans sa recherche de la toison d'or. Je me rappelais en partie cette histoire, mais j'ignorais qu'Orphée en faisait partie (oublie de ma part ou liberté de l'auteur, je n'ai pas poussé la recherche), cette partie s'avère moins bien écrite à mon avis et moins intéressante également. Dans l'ensemble, l'histoire est classique et pas mauvaise, mais ce livre n'y apporte rien. Il réécrit une histoire connu de tous ou presque, avec un style qui n'a rien pour se démarquer et qui apporte bien peu à un mythe dont on a largement fait le tour. Bref, je ne comprends pas la pertinence et la raison d'être de ce livre, bien qu'il ne soit pas mauvais en soi (il n'est pas très bon en soi non plus par contre).

  • Steve Statham
    2019-05-13 03:40

    Just beautifully written by one of the masters. Silverberg has penned many a far-flung space opera, but his true passions seem to be mythology and ancient history. In The Last Song of Orpheus, his fondness for the old world is on full display. The demi-god Orpheus must navigate his way through the lost civilizations of mankind, torn between the human condition and the desires of the gods. Silverberg has cut back on his writing in recent years, so this newest novella will be a welcome read for his fans. Written with the skill that comes from age and experience, The Last Song of Orpheus is yet more proof of Silverberg's talents.

  • Gene
    2019-05-01 06:18

    A relatively engrossing overview of the myths of Orpheus, as told by Orpheus himself. I certainly prefer the wonderful inventiveness of Silverberg's fantastic science fiction worlds, but he's a lovely writer of prose even when detailing an existing and familiar mythology.

  • Matti Tornio
    2019-05-18 02:13

    Great retelling of the Orpheus myth, even if the second half of the book isn't nearly as strong as the early parts

  • Holly
    2019-05-10 06:30

    Got this book in my Subterranean Press Grab Bag (Box?). Excited to see how it pans out!

  • Joey Sigmon
    2019-05-12 01:34

    this is a cool retelling of one of the most interesting characters in mythology.

  • Joyce Donahue
    2019-04-29 05:25

    Interesting because it re-tells many of the famous myths through the eyes of Orpheus - a different point of view on Jason and the Golden Fleece, for example. Brings the character of Orpheus to life.

  • Cheryl
    2019-05-12 00:16

    Loved hearing the familiar stories that I teach every year from an "insider's" perspective. It really goes a new life to the ancient tales. My only wish is a list of sources.