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Gilgamesh Gilgamesh

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  144 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
In his thrillingly contemporary retelling of the world's oldest epic, award-winning poet Derrek Hines brings us as close as we may ever come to re-creating the power it had over its original listenersmore than four thousand years ago in the ancient Near East.
Gilgamesh, the semi-divine ruler of Uruk, is a larger-than-life bully and abuser of his people. In order to tame th
...more
ebook, 80 pages
Published March 25th 2009 by Anchor Books (first published January 10th 2002)
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Community Reviews

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David
Dec 06, 2007 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this version of Gilgamesh - perhaps one of the most accessible to the general reader. Gilgamesh is pretty much a required read, in my book, not just because it is the oldest (mostly) surviving narrative, but because it is about stuff that matters, namely that we're all gonna die, and there isn't really anything we can do about it. I'm not sure how many basic human stories there are, but this has to be one of the most basic, and most human. For more, see Ernest Becker's 'The Deni ...more
Annette
Jan 22, 2011 Annette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"In which Gilgamesh and Enkidu are bros"

This one was surprisingly wonderful; I will have to think about it more to come up with coherent comments!

Hines doesn't translate directly - there are bombs, airplanes, and other contemporary things and ideas, and entire passages that are written in a perticular time period but not ancient Mesopotamia (World War One? Okay?). I will seriously have to read other translations to see how the relationship and its repurcussions plays out there - is it similar? i
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Perssis Namour
So many mixed feeling about this book. To fully appreciate it I think I need to read it again.

Gilgamesh is the oldest text, 1000 years before the bible and 2000 years before Christianity, or Catholicism. You have legends and stories told and retold, based on.....some fact, but mixed in with the myths of the time.
Gilgamesh has parts that ring true, a man that survived the flood that wiped out the earth. Landing on top of Ararat Mountain, sending out a dove that found no rest and returning. You ca
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Lyndon
May 05, 2009 Lyndon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is short and bright. Don't let reviews capsize you if you love the regenerative nature of myth, and you don't mind a bit of the avante-garde.

Giddy first impressions--then a link to the words of a well-known author--and then impressions again:

What a discovery is this! The Derrek Hines Gilgamesh is open next to me. Reviews on Amazon were mixed--my copy was 92 cents used--but when I began reading the orange volume and then grew more and more delighted, I wanted to see who else thought highly o
...more
Laura
Jun 08, 2012 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not a translation of the old poem: it's a re-interpretation in poetry of the original epic. The story is the same, but the language crackles with vivid imagery that connect with our time. The language in parts was so startling and new that I had to read it over a few times, impressed by the efficient metaphors and the energy behind each line. Some examples:

A description of Gilgamesh:
Pulls women like beer rings.
Grunts when puzzled. A bully. A jock. Perfecto.
But in love? – a moon-calf,
...more
Bill
Jan 24, 2011 Bill rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: avoid
I thought this was going to be an interesting take on Gilgamesh... instead it was the worst kind of editorial mutilation. Hines somehow managed to take one of the oldest written works in history and turn it into an unrecognizable pile of steaming kitsch. In his efforts to update the language and story he destroyed utterly all sense of narrative. Most of what I'm sure he considered clever emendations and additions left me repeatedly bewildered, and it was so difficult to follow and enjoy that I c ...more
Jim Coughenour
Sep 11, 2013 Jim Coughenour rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
The last month I've been reading various editions of Gilgamesh. This one will be the last – at least for a long while. As he explains in his introduction, Hines attempts to do for Gilgamesh what Christopher Logue did with the Iliad and what Ted Hughes did with Metamorphoses – make great, sometimes shocking modern poetry out of great ancient poetry. That's setting the bar high, it's to his credit, but in this case it didn't work. The result is a travesty that surrenders everything interesting in ...more
Ryan
Mar 21, 2009 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought, going into this book, that the 'updating' for modern audiences would be cheesy & gimmicky. Ishtar breaking the sound barrier? CAT scans? In a translation of the oldest recorded epic?

But, it's actually done quite well, if only for the strength of Hines's poetry. It's punchy, vivid and exciting. The anachronisms don't really feel out of place.
Wally
This has to be one of my favorite retellings of Gilgamesh. Hines narrates the story in 60 pages, never wasting a word, but sometimes telling the story obliquely, through other characters who interact with the great (and not-so-great) Gilgamesh. The writing shines, the characters are simultaneously human and divine, and the story has an interesting pacing to it.
Salvatore
'Talk dries in the cafes,
as when the soldiers of an occupation
enter a restaurant, and a coded silence
becomes speech. Where silence is language,
meaning is everywhere.'

A contemporary-language and -metaphor rendition of the Sumerian poem. Quite a lot of energy from this poet. Pretty interesting, though it makes me want to read a closer, more 'direct' translation.
Arden Aoide
Jul 28, 2013 Arden Aoide rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this interpretation just as much as I love Christopher Logue's interpretation of The Iliad. I'd recommend some familiarity with the history and a good translation before reading this.

It is an absolute thing of beauty.
Mary
Jul 31, 2013 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The parts that were done well were AMAZING. But I felt like it really dropped off after the lament for Enkidu. If the quest for eternal life had been done as well as the other parts, this book would be 5 stars.
Lauren Kate
Jan 02, 2011 Lauren Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Riveting
Brendan
May 29, 2013 Brendan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It had me from the first stanza:
"Here is Gilgamesh, King of Uruk:
two-thirds divine, a mummy's boy,
zeppelin ego, cock like a trip-hammer,
and solid chrome, no-prisoners arrogance."
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