The Lost Books of the Odyssey

The Lost Books of the Odyssey

by Zachary Mason
4.0 21

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Overview

The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason

A New York Times Bestseller

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

Zachary Mason's brilliant and beguiling debut novel reimagines Homer's classic story of the hero Odysseus and his long journey home after the fall of Troy. With hypnotic prose, terrific imagination, and dazzling literary skill, Mason creates alternative episodes, fragments, and revisions of Homer's original that, taken together, open up this classic Greek myth to endless reverberating interpretations. The Lost Books of the Odyssey is punctuated with great wit, beauty, and playfulness; it is a daring literary page-turner that marks the emergence of an extraordinary new talent.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780978881153
Publisher: Starcherone Books
Publication date: 03/01/2008
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

ZACHARY MASON is a computer scientist specializing in artificial intelligence. He was a finalist for the 2008 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. He lives in California.

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The Lost Books of the Odyssey 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Aglaia More than 1 year ago
This book was one of the best reads I have come across in years. The Lost Books recount or retell stories from the Odyssey and the Iliad (as well as other events from Greek mythology) from a different perspective or a slightly distinct angle. The idea is simple, the writing is pure delight, and the stories, all very short, are original and complex. This book will have a permanent place on my bookshelf and in my mind, and I am sure to reread the stories from time to time and discover something new in them. Having finished the book, I immediately decided to reread the Iliad and the Odyssey. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Classics, Greek mythology and literature.
Janus More than 1 year ago
At this point in my life, I have read 'The Odyssey' three times, and none were by choice. Twice in high school and once again in early college. After my third reading I never wanted to hear the name Odysseus again, or so I thought. I discovered this book quite by accident and it was the first chapter that hooked me. 'The Lost Books of the Odyssey' serves as a prequel, sequel and re-imagining of both the Odyssey and the Illiad and it really couldn't be any more perfect. Each chapter is a story: Sometimes Odysseus is the narrator, sometimes it's in the third person, sometimes it's about Achilles or a story about a hypothetical origin of Calypso. Mason does Homer justice with the beauty of his words and the intelligence of each chapter. If you are looking for a singular plot, then go read the original. There is no order to the stories and there is not an overarching plot to be discovered. There are, however, themes a plenty and wisdom in these pages. I would say the closest comparison I can think of would be to 'Invisible Cities' by Italo Calvino (only Mason's book I liked) stylistically. This is really a downright enjoyable book, if you are willing to take the risk.
epozo More than 1 year ago
This is a book of variations on a theme, the theme being what could have happened during the Trojan War, Odysseus' voyage home and his arrival in Ithaca. There are, for example, multiple versions of his homecoming. Throughout, the character of Odysseus is strong and consistent, and we learn about him as a man of dreams and disappointments as we are offered each of the vignettes. Each piece is not so much storytelling as it is poetry. The experience of reading this book is somewhat like being offered a chest of jewels, where one can handle each one, admiring its facets. One of my favorite pieces involves the construction of an Achilles made of clay to fight in Troy. This is a delicious book.
BooksmartDM More than 1 year ago
These stories vary from 'what if' takes, on the speculative events of the Trojan War, to the meandering curiosities and explorations of Odysseus's thoughts and indulgences. If you are a fan of Homer's work -- The Iliad and The Odyssey -- you are certain to enjoy the tales retold, clearly reshaped with a 21st Century sensibility. If you have no understanding of Homer's original tales, much of this will be perceived like so much intellectual self-stimulation. In fact, you may not be amused when you are driven to dictionary in search of various archaic terms. The stories are shared in no particular order, but once you are accustomed to the non-linear style, it is fairly easy to immerse oneself in the characters and the well-written articulations of their intricate relationships. Was Athena in love with Odysseus? How did Achilles really die? Was Odysseus naive and in denial about Penelope's faithfulness? There is much food for thought here -- which is always a good sign in my opinion -- and the prose is digestible, although some tales may be most appealing to a more sophisticated literary palate. All in all, I did enjoy it. It was a very good read, and it would be a nice choice for book club discussion that included Homer's originals.
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Celtruler More than 1 year ago
I was profoundly disappointed with this book because it does not have the genius of the original. Zachary Mason demonstrates the ancient crime of hubris in trying to compete with Homer. I don't quite understand why artists think that a fragmented, broken manuscript is somehow more authentic than a perfectly crafted masterpiece. It's almost like saying that instead of a magnificent lamp which is both aesthetically and pragmatically pleasing and illuminating, we should settle for shards of glass and a defective cord. A variation upon the classical story could work in more competent hands, but why bother playing off of someone else's work when there are thousands of other stories worth telling that remain neglected by writers who have decided to draw their blood from another's body.