Down Among the Gods
by Kate Thompson
July 16, 2013
Open Road Media
Contemporary Romance, Fantasy
The Greek god Hermes narrates this extraordinary novel of contemporary romance by award-winning author Kate Thompson
“I have a story for you . . . It is a tale of immortals, acted by mortals.”
So begins this story of two lonely people who meet at an adult education class. Jessie Parker has just turned forty. Between the recent death of her mother and the local library’s burning down, she feels bereft and adrift. Patrick Robinson, a journalist with artistic tendencies, is also searching for something. With the gods looking down upon them, Jessie and Patrick begin dating. Soon, they find themselves deeply in love, but caught up in the struggles that plague all relationships.
Told from the perspective of the immortal Hermes, Down Among the Gods is a riff on the modern romance. By turns funny and moving, this remarkable novel lays bare the intimate yearnings of those who quest after love everlasting—whether on Olympus or right here on Earth.
I found the beginning of the story cute because of the unique meeting of the two protagonists. I find Patrick's grim thoughts disconcerting, but it was balanced out by Jessie's positive outlook. From the onset of the story, it was easy to tell that they were very different individuals and they practically have nothing in common, except being in an art class together.
Plot-wise, I really found the story unique and pleasantly different from all others. It was told from the perspective of an unlikely audience to a human relationship. It's interesting because a god, Hermes nonetheless, actually took an interest in the affairs of two very ordinary humans. He even took time to explain how the gods and goddesses affect each individual, hinting very early on why Patrick and Jessie's relationship just wouldn't last.
The second thing that I really loved about this book is the plot device using Greek gods and goddesses. I'm not a huge fan of mythology but the way Greek mythology was included in the story made sense. Hermes explained the influence that the gods and goddesses have over humans in a logical, and almost believable manner. It's like reality and mythology was logically tied up together in this little treat of a book! In the middle of reading the story, I actually thought, 'Ah, I must be influenced by Athena', which meant that the book actually drew me in.
Character-wise, I was more in tune with Jessie than with Patrick. It would be easy to just blame him for all the misfortunes in his life, but as Hermes explained the roles that gods and goddesses play in the affair of humans, I was saddened by the fact that he ended up being a disciple of Dionysus/Bacchus. I was a bit glad when he began anew with Jessie, but his downward spiral was really disheartening. I understood why it had to happen though. I just didn't like it.
As for the way it was written, I found the story-line somber but captivating. There were times that Hermes, as the narrator of the story, cracked up a few witty wisecracks. In general though, the feel of the story was downcast. Personally, I liked it just the way it was, but from when I began reading, I easily guessed that this story wouldn't be something that everybody would be eager to read.
Lastly, I loved the ending. It wasn't what I was hoping for, but it was perfect for the story.