Picano, Felice. “An Asian Minor: The True Story of Ganymede”, Lethe Reprint, 2017, originally published 1981.
Meet Ganymede Anew
Felice Picano’s novella about Ganymede was originally published in 1981 and has long been out-of-print. It tells the life story of Ganymede unapologetically and with the in its ribald details of Greek gods in disguise as they try to seduce “the most beautiful youth in the Ancient world”. thirteen-year-old boy who discovers that he is “the most beautiful mortal ever born.”
Picano sees Ganymede as a young man who was given immortality at age fourteen, who has aged mentally with the earth and sees and knows the world. Ganymede relates the true story of his life because he sees that others are intent on making him “a symbolic victim of an old pervert’s lust; and contrarily, by others saying that the perversion is fine.” He wants everyone to know the truth that t his human rights had not been violated and that he is not an unwilling victim who was raped and abducted without his permission. Ganymede, being the nice guy that he is also tells us in the prologue that he wants to give us modern guys some ideas on how to find the right kind of sugar daddy.
We see that Ganymede is sneaky and cheeky but he has good reason for that; he is the most beautiful young man to ever have lived. He learns that being so beautiful is both a blessing and a curse. His father shows proudly exhibits him off as one of the wonders of Troy but Ganymede is exiled because his father does not want the gods misbehaving as they try to win him over. This is where his adventures begin and he rejects both Apollo and Hermes because he does not want to settle for a minor god when he knows that he can do better. It took humbling him so that he could fulfill his dreams. humbled that he gets the chance to fulfill his destiny.
Ganymede tells his story as if he was living in the world of today. His language is contemporary and filled with idioms. He tells us what really went on in his life and corrects the “mistakes” that others have made telling his story. Here he claims that he knew nothing about the powers that were given to him at birth. He also is not aware of his perfect beauty until others tell him about it and he realizes that he can use it for his own advantage. We see that he is searching for his destiny and that it was just not handed to him. He is a very smart kid who is unwilling to settle for anything or anyone when he can have the very best. This is a read that is just fun. Ganymede goes wit to wit against the biggest gods remaining always convinced that there is always one better than the god he is with. You will never read mythology the same way again.