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The Odyssey: A Dramatic Retelling of Homer's Epic
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The Odyssey: A Dramatic Retelling of Homer's Epic

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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  121 ratings  ·  28 reviews
In this new verse adaptation, Armitage has recast Homer's epic as a series of bristling dramatic dialogues: between gods and men; between no-nonsense Captain Odysseus and his unruly companions; and between subtle Odysseus and a range of shape-shifting adversaries.
Paperback, 266 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 1st 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 252)
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Nikki
It's funny to think I didn't enjoy Armitage's work the first time I came across it. I think it was his translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight that changed that. He brought something fresh and dynamic to the poem, which made it a very different reading experience to other translations and adaptations. He's done the same here with The Odyssey. This is not a translation, or even a completely faithful adaptation: I can think of several places where it departs from the original poem.

However,
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Dergrossest
The Odyssey was probably my favorite book as child, with all of its fantastic adventures, memorable monsters and beautiful women. And Odysseus - wily, tough, but so very human Odysseus - was always my favorite hero. While I have returned to this story many times, rereading various translations, watching the movie adaptions and listening to Cream sing of the Tales of Brave Ulysses a thousand times, this recent adaptation has breathed fresh life into the story.

Armitage is a poet by trade, as you
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Leila Anani
This is a cracking version of Homer's Odyssey, replacing densely translated, turgid prose with punchy poetic dialogue in a way that only Simon Armitage can.

Fast paced and exciting this reminded me of all the reasons I loved the Odyssey in the first place. Having the whole thing in dialogue gives it a real sense of immediacy and the ease of language makes it very accessible and a great way to introduce new readers to the wonder of Homer.

If I'm to be critical - sometimes its a little too fast. Sce
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Bry
I really enjoyed the Odyssey when I read it in college and I loved this adaptation. Armitage did a brilliant job of adapting the story, condensing the action, and updating the language while staining the emotion and beauty of the epic poem. FYI this adaptation was done to make a radio dramatization of the story.

I was afraid it would be too dumbed down - too simple - when the original was so complex, detailed, and beautiful. Thankfully that was not the case. Obviously it is simplified just by co
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Leah
So, I had to read this for class. But instead of doing what I did in high school and being all like, "The teacher assigned this book, it must be sooo boring," and not giving it a chance, I tried to pretend that I was reading it because I wanted to. I'm so glad I did that.

I have to say, this is now one of my favorite books. It's a very easy read, Simon Armitage did a great job with that. I had to read parts of the older, denser version of The Odyssey years ago and it was like pulling teeth and I
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Beka
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Whit
An interesting retelling of the Odyssey done in a script format, transcribed from a radio performance. It took me a bit to figure out why things were out of order in the story's plot, and I thought it was strange to start from the middle of the story and do the first half in a sort of flashback storytelling. I did, however, enjoy most of the characterizations that you don't normally enjoy in a traditional telling of this story. You are able to see more of the suitors and, while they are still ha ...more
Maggie
I loved Armitage's version of Gawain, so I'm giving this a try. I still need to read the original (or a translation of the original, since I can't understand Ancient Greek). Otherwise it feels like I know only Weird Al versions, know what I mean?

Added:

This was somehow less satisfying than Gawain, perhaps because I'm that further detached from the original tale (in Gawain the original text followed you from page to page). I love how effectively his poetry works from the standpoint of a radio play
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Chris Henden
much of this book is about how you should not eat too much.
Jonathan
When we think of the story of Odysseus, we gravitate toward the fun episodes: Scylla and Charybdis, Circe, the sirens. But having actually read it this year, I was surprised by how much of the actual story isn't any of those things. Armitage's dialogue adaptation does an excellent job conveying all of that other stuff, which in the translation I read is stuffy and boring. An excellent version of the story, though perhaps one you ought to only approach after reading the original.

5/5
Sara
May 03, 2010 Sara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
I wish I had written this back when I finished the book about a month ago. I was very pleasantly surprised by this book--not because of lack of faith in Simon Armitage but because to me The Odyssey is like gold. Armitage's dramatic rendition is really well done. There is a terse modern edge to the dialogue that at the same time does not feel at all unsettlingly temporally distant from the original. The dialogue is alive, poetic, and engaging throughout.
Josh
Not only was it fun to reread the story of The Odyssey, as I haven't read it in over ten years, but is was a hell of a lot of fun reading Simon Armitage's translation. It's written entirely in dialogue (with stage directions) and all in verse. I found myself reading passages out loud to myself, acting the part of Odysseus or Zeus or whoever. It's a nice light, and very entertaining read. Looking forward to reading it again down the road...
David
This is a masterpiece. To reduce 12000 lines of Homer to such an enjoyable read deserves all the plaudits Armitage has received since it was published 2004. The niggling gods, the Monty Python crew and the plotting suitors, mixed with passages of poetic lyricism and a 2500 year old storyline make this a masterpiece. What a shame this was not around when I was at School and I had to read it in Greek!
Tamar
Jun 30, 2008 Tamar rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
I was stunned at how beautiful this translation is. I did not enjoy reading The Odyssey in high school and didn't think I'd read it again. I loved Armitage's translation - it was immediate and emotional. I'm reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight now.
Brian
this was a good radio drama! i think i read parts of the odyssey before, maybe all of it. i remember it like i read it, but it is that kind of story.

anyway, some parts of the play were off by ways of the voice volume. there were parts that i mostly missed because of the whispering or the dead people talking.

but it was done well overall.
The Reader's Bookshop
Retelling The Odyssey certainly won't get anyone points for originality, but Simon Armitage's dramatic retelling is perfect for anyone wanting to familiarize herself with Homer's epic without taking a sabbatical to read the original. The dialogue and characterizations are pitch-perfect and spot-on, like a very fun, lively school play.
David
I read this book in about 3 to 4 hours. Often you read plays and poems but rarely do modern readers get to read radio transcripts where emotion has to be transferred through script. This transcript was well-written, and beautiful in its simplicity. I would definitely recommend reading it, or buying the BBC 4 radio copy.

Nathan
This story has been told and retold so many times that it seemed unlikely I'd find a new version worth reading. Simon Armitage's version, a radio play adapted for the BBC, however, is surprisingly fresh and fun. His deft pacing and sense of humor give this a modern feel without being annoyingly unfaithful to the original Homer.
J.
Absolutely brilliant adaptation. It does leave out the bulk of the Telemachiad, and though I missed it, it didn't feel like a gap at all. Some will scoff at the modern idiomatic phrases, I'm sure, but I think it's just brilliant.
Carole
Feb 27, 2009 Carole added it
everything i wanted to steal from the odyssey is here in colloquial and approachable narrative-
i was reminded by athena of poor suffereing penelope
(also the name of desmond's girlfriend in )
Lisa
I am reading this to the kids right now, we are all loving the adventure. It is written completely in dialouge. It is a nice change from the lengthy intense 20,000 leagues.
Vanessab
A splendid adaptation, this entertained, amused and delighted me. I had to stop and retread some of it because the language was beautiful and needed to be savoured.
Kaite Stover
Jun 11, 2008 Kaite Stover marked it as to-read
Shelves: zz
Took a quick look at this and will come back for a more thorough read. Have every expectation it will be one of the best books of the year. Teens will love.
!Tæmbuŝu
Aug 26, 2014 !Tæmbuŝu marked it as unread-hard-wif-ecopies-eng
Jesie
I really enjoyed the way this book told the story. It was easy to follow and fun to read.
Galileosong
Excellent retelling.
David


Brilliant!
Gabrielle
Gabrielle is currently reading it
Dec 22, 2014
Melora
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Simon Armitage, whose The Shout was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, has published ten volumes of poetry and has received numerous honors for his work. He lives in England.

Armitage's poetry collections include Book of Matches (1993) and The Dead Sea Poems (1995). He has written two novels, Little Green Man (2001) and The White Stuff (2004), as well as All Points North (1998),
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More about Simon Armitage...
Walking Home: A Poet's Journey Selected Poems Kid All Points North Seeing Stars

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