Tuesday, August 12th, 2013
My new short story, GALATEA, based on the story of the sculptor Pygmalion, is debuting today in the US as an e-book single from Ecco, and is already out in the UK as a Kindle single with Bloomsbury. In the myth, Pygmalion falls in love with his own statue, and prays to the goddess Aphrodite for her to be brought to life. His wish is granted and the two marry. It’s a story that has inspired a number of retellings and adaptations including, most famously, George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, which became My Fair Lady.
I’ve always been fascinated by this odd myth, because it has so many resonances: the artist’s obsession with his or her own work, yearning for an unrequited love and, disturbingly, the fact that only a woman you create yourself is worthy of being your wife. It was this last idea that inspired my own version, which is narrated by Galatea, the statue-woman herself. In following this path, I was drawing primarily on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, in which Pygmalion is so disgusted by the women in his town that he begs the goddess to make his stone statue real, because only she is pure and perfect enough to be his wife.
By the way, I originally wrote the story for a myth anthology forthcoming from Penguin called XO ORPHEUS, edited by the terrific Kate Bernheimer, which has over fifty retellings of favorite myths. A definite must for myth-lovers!