Hodges is, as usual, clear and a little cool in her rendition of the story. No one seems very upset. This is reflected in the mild, static pastel illustrations. Nary a one conveys energy or action; they remind me of posed photographic scenes. Aphrodite looks like she is striking a Vogue pose whilst waiting to begin her interpretive dance.
There were elements I liked, such as where Psyche is first described, "Her sisters were content to know what they were told. Psyche always wanted to know more." That is something different, something other than the standard beauty. But then it isn't reflected in the story, which hardly has "seek to know more" as its message. I also liked that the sisters seem at least partially motivated by concern that she is in fact married to a monster as the oracle predicted. I liked that Psyche has a knife and is ready to defend herself if necessary. Although I can never help thinking, reading this type of story, that the heroine would be able to tell by touch if her husband was, um, physically abnormal. Is she just lying back and thinking of Rhodes while he has his invisible way with her?
Because I reread East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon a few days ago, I was also struck by the question of what would have happened had Psyche not
employed the lamp? In East of the Sun and related fairy tales like Pajaro Verde the husband is under enchantment, and would have been freed had the wife been trusting for one year. In this case there is no curse -- if Psyche had been obedient would the status quo of the invisible nocturnal relationship persisted indefinitely? Not to mention Psyche would have grown old and died. In this case her disobedience seems to pay off.