Last time, I looked at the Odyssey and some close-hewn translations and versions of the original epic poem. Come along as we continue our wanderings through the text and beyond to see where it will take us.
From these rather straightforward threads of the original, things get a little weird, as the stories become more outlandish, more removed from the original.
The Penelopiad by Margaret Eleanor Atwood
Margaret Atwood approaches the Odyssey not through the hero, but through his wife, Penelope. This shorter novel examines an odd, minor story from the end of the Odyssey about Penelope’s disloyal maids and why they were hanged.
The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason
Zachary Mason’s “novel” takes various scenes from the original and upends them, or skews them, or tells them with an alternate ending. Many of them twist in ways that fans of Jorge Luis Borges will appreciate.
Odysseus: A Life by Charles Rowan Beye
Likewise in classicist Charles Rowan Beye’s book, Odysseus: A Life, we follow the Homeric hero as if he were a regular Bronze Age Greek and not a fictional figure. Added bonus: this book follows Odysseus through his whole life, so if reading the Iliad is not high on your list, you’ll get the story here.
Omeros by Derek Walcott
The poet Derek Walcott moves further afield from the story with this five-part poem cycle taking place in more modern times, and in the Caribbean.
Ulysses by James Joyce
James Joyce’s modern classic overlays Homer’s tale onto 1904 Dublin, and depicts the whole story in a single day. If you’ve read all the other books, you’ve come to the end of your odyssey, and this is your reward.