There is no man living – there never will be – who could come in enmity to the Phaeacian land; we are loved too well by the immortals. We live apart, with the billowing sea all round us; we live at the world’s edge.
I can’t get over how different this was to what I was expecting. It is readable, for a start! I think formatting The Odyssey for today’s audience as prose rather than a poem helped a great deal – thanks very much, Oxford World’s Classics. When I originally signed up to read on Bloomsday all those months ago my plan was to read The Odyssey beforehand so I’d be ready for Ulysses. This didn’t happen as I’ve been totally sidetracked by my war books, but it seemed only right to read The Odyssey now because I have been looking into it so much for Ulysses. I didn’t do any more research whilst reading though because I just felt like enjoying the story. I think you can read the book on a lot of different levels – if I had done loads of research into every unfamiliar name and myth I’d have finished The Odyssey knowing so much more than when I started. BUT the story is such an iconic tale that is still recycled in so many plots today that I enjoyed it on this basic level without doing more than the briefest of research.
The Odyssey has everything – love, jealousy, family, home sickness, adventuring, journeys, gods and goddesses, battles, friendship, kings and beggars, hidden identities, disguises and tricks. Odysseus is a great main character, a mix of warrior king and Everyman. He makes some pretty questionable decisions, but his crew don’t always listen to him. The other part of the book I particularly enjoyed was the way the Gods were always meddling with human affairs. All the human characters were permanently questioning what was the luck of the Gods and who was worthy of favour.
All in all I’d recommend this, I was pleasantly surprised.
Then of a sudden the wind dropped and everything became hushed and still, because some divinity lulled the waters.