Published in: -800 B.C.E.
Edition read: E-book
Crowded with characters, both human and non-human, and bursting with action, The Odyssey details the adventures of Odysseus, king of Ithaca and hero of the Trojan War, as he struggles to return to his home and his waiting, ever-faithful wife, Penelope. Along the way he encounters the seductive Circe, who changes men into swine; the gorgeous water-nymph, Calypso, who keeps him a “prisoner of love” for seven years; the terrible, one-eyed, man-eating giant Cyclops; and a host of other ogres, wizards, sirens, and gods. But when he finally reaches Ithaca after ten years of travel, his trials have only begun. There he must battle the scheming noblemen who, thinking him dead, have demanded that Penelope choose one of them to be her new husband—and Ithaca’s new king.
I had a false start when I read this originally, the version I downloaded being a mix of Greek and Roman mythology, which pissed me off (Who the hell is Jupiter? Oh that’s Zeus? Wait whose Jove? That’s Zeus too? ARGH) So after getting 130 pages into that version, , which was also peppered with the author’s stupid opinions (He didn’t like women. The translation he was using and commenting on had been done by a female, so everything was “obviously the author, a female, feels strongly about this even thought it’s only a silly little mistreatment of a female character”), I went and downloaded one that had the actual Greek mythology/names, and no annoying author putting in his 2 cents every three sentences. (For anyone wanting to avoid this version/translation, it was by Samuel Butler, and is the version you download from Project Gutenberg. DO NOT DOWNLOAD THIS VERSION AS IT IS THE WORST)
Anyways, second time around was much better, having downloaded “The Fitzgerald Translation” by Robert Fitzgerald, where there is the proper Greek gods and goddesses, and no pesky author opinions. The story is an epic, so much happens that you don’t know what might come next. There is murder and mayhem, there are vengeful gods and helpful gods, there are cyclops who eat Odysseus’ poor stranded crew, there’s lots of Hekatombs (aka sacrificing livestock to the gods)… it’s just awesome.
Towards the end it can get a tad tedious when the same story is repeated for the third or fourth time, and some parts you’re just like “what the hell Odysseus?” like when he decides, for shits ‘n’ giggles, to approach his home dressed as a beggar and tell these made up stories that he is from Crete. Why? Why do this? What did this achieve?
All in all, it was a grand story to read, and enjoyable as hell. I would love to read the original, in Greek, but alas, I do not know anywhere near enough to be able to read an untranslated version (I can almost read/count to 10, in modern Greek. Somehow, I doubt that help me read the original Odyssey.)
The Odyssey rating: 7.5/10.
Would I re-read it? Yes I would
Who would I recommend this to? Anyone, everyone. It’s a classic, its the classic, it’s classed as the second work of western literature so it’s one of the originals of modern story telling. If you haven’t read it, you should.
Be careful when downloading this book on the web- pretty much every version I found was that awful Samuel Butler version, and as I may have stated above, THIS VERSION IS THE WORST. Below are some versions NOT by Samuel “I’m an opinionated douchebag who doesn’t know the difference between Roman and Greek mythology” Butler.