As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive.No, we're not a bunch of literary pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.
Jessica Day George - Young Adult & Middle Grade Author
Amy Finnegan - Young Adult Author
Kim Thacker - Writer and Mommy
February 7, 2012
ODYSSEY, by Homer. Translated by Stanley Lombardo, 2000
The Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of everyman's journey through life. In the myths and legends that are retold here, renowned translator Robert Fagles has captured the energy and poetry of Homer's original in a bold, contemporary idiom and given us an Odyssey to read aloud, to savor, and to treasure for its sheer lyrical mastery. This is an Odyssey to delight both the classicist and the general reader, and to captivate a new generation of Homer's students. (Goodreads)
Review by Megan,
reader and writer wannabee
Homer’s Odyssey! It has all the elements of an epic adventure story: a boy
seeking to become a man, a hero struggling to return home and a woman who has
had to fend for herself for a very long time. The stories of these three
characters – Telemachus, son of Odysseus, Odysseus himself and Penelope, wife
of Odysseus – comprise the Odyssey, which was a surprise for someone who
thought it only contained Odysseus’ adventures.
every moment of it! I thrilled as Telemachus searches for people who can tell
him about the father he never knew, people like Menelaus and Nestor, old
acquaintances from the Iliad, which I had just finished. I nearly jumped up and
down shouting “Oh, oh, I know him, Telemachus! He fought with you father at
Troy! Oh, oh, ask him about this!” I cried with Penelope as she wept for her
husband and applauded her efforts to keep her disgusting suitors at bay.
Penelope is possibly my favorite girl in Greek mythology, since she uses her
brain AND manages to live happily ever after. And, of course, there was
Odysseus. I rode the waves beside him, cursing those who kept him from home,
groaning as yet another crewmember did something stupid, or occasionally *cough
Cyclopes cough* groaning as Odysseus did something below his usual level of
intelligence. That is perhaps the most striking thing about Odysseus. Whereas
most Greek heroes tend to be fixated on killing and “winning glory”, Odysseus
uses his brain. Oh, he likes beating up bad-guys and earning glory too, but he
is cleverer when he goes about it. And he wants to go home, so much so that he
turns down Calypso’s offer of immortality (most heroes would’ve jumped for
this) and King Alcinous’ offer of marriage to his daughter (again, not the
heroic norm). This loyalty to Penelope and his home is both striking and
refreshing in an Ancient Greek Hero.
The end is good
too. There’s lots of fighting, and the routing of the disgusting suitors I
spent most of the book longing to smack; everyone gets their just desserts, and
the reunion of Odysseus and Penelope is tender and beautiful.
Overall, it was a
wonderful read that pulled me from one page to the next with its stunning
visuals, excitement and drama – none of it overdone. I will warn you that the
idea of expendable crewmen was invented by Homer, so don’t get attached to
Odysseus’ crew: none of them make it back.
Market: I wouldn’t give it to anyone under the age of 14 or 15.
Lombardo translates such that if the characters swear in Greek, he uses a close
equivalent in English. Beware!
Sensuality: Nothing is described, but is acknowledged that it happens. PG-13
is some gore, especially
at the end.
finding lost identity, punishing of criminals in the Ancient Greek style, murder, raising ghosts with barley and wine, Odysseus being with a couple ladies
(Calypso and Circe), etc.