Gods Behaving Badly, By Marie Phillips

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The Independent Culture

This energetic romp has the Greek gods living in modern-day Hampstead. They've been here since the 17th century, "when the plague was keeping property prices rock bottom, and just before the destruction of the Great Fire sent them spiralling upwards again", thanks to shrewd investments by Athena, the goddess of wisdom.

Unfortunately nobody believes in gods any more. Their dilapidated home is just about held together by Aphrodite's husband, Hephaestus, the god of smiths. Aphrodite runs a phone-sex operation. Artemis, the goddess of hunting, is a dog-walker on the heath; and Apollo, the god of the sun and prophecy, works as a TV psychic while global warming takes hold. He's also oblivious to the fact that his amatory techniques look a lot like rape in a post-feminist world. Apollo's new fixation, Alice, a timid cleaner, is despatched by him, in a fit of pique, to the underworld via Angel tube. Can her droopy friend Neil outwit the gods, become a hero and bring her back to life? A clever and inventive tale with some moments of genuine unease.

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