The Meat Tree by Gwyneth Lewis is part of Seren Books’ New Stories of the Mabinogion, which is a series of adaptations of the Mabinogi, a Welsh myth.
Following the Fourth Branch of the myth, Gwyneth Lewis places her novel in the future, as an Inspector and an Apprentice search a seemingly abandoned earth ship in outer space. On this ship, they discover a VR headset and they discover the tale of the Fourth Branch.
This novel is interesting in the way it’s written and the handling of the myth. Written almost like a stage play, the characters of the novel describe what they see and the conversations around them as they log their adventure onboard the space ship.
Lewis uses the myth to her advantage, and as the characters go further into the VR game, they make discoveries about themselves, and the people who were once aboard the ship.
Gwyneth Lewis really drags in the reader, and makes for excellent reading. It’s exciting, and keeps you going as you try to discover who the mastermind of the VR game is. The novel also tackles themes of feminism, the roles of man and woman, and social hierarchy.
I would definitely recommend this novel, it’s a brilliant introduction to the Mabinogi and a lovely novel in it’s own right.