At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Thursday, May 27, 2004


Beye, Charles Rowan. Odysseus: A Life. Hyperion.

Booklist: “[Provides] a deeper understanding of an old acquaintance and, for those who fear reading a long poem, a dazzling introduction to one grandfather of us all.” Library Journal: “a coherent, highly readable narrative that situates Odysseus’ world within the geography and history of our own. The only drawback is a lack of scholarly apparatus, aside from a brief chapter on sources, which limits its usefulness in academia. But the general reader will appreciate its accessibility and its entertaining value. A true labor of love, reflecting a lifetime of study, this is recommended for all public libraries.” Kirkus: “Synthesizing material from the Iliad, the Odyssey, and other ancient sources, a ‘biography’ of the legendary Greek hero that doubles as a vivid history of Bronze Age customs and beliefs…The author’s lucid chronological narrative of Odysseus’ career is written in witty, deliberately colloquial prose. Only when describing his subject’s sex life does Beye lapse into jarring anachronisms…Early chapters covering less well-known events in Odysseus’ youth are particularly fascinating, but Beye’s accounts of the Trojan War, the hero’s ten years of wandering, and his return to Ithaca also benefit from the author’s formidable, yet lightly worn, erudition.” Publishers Weekly: “sometimes compelling, sometimes pedantic…While Beye offers insights into the cultural context in which Odysseus might have grown up, his fictional biography cannot compare to Homer’s suspenseful and engrossing tale.”


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