Rebecca's Reviews > An Odyssey: A Father, A Son and an Epic

An Odyssey by Daniel Mendelsohn
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In the spring term of 2011, 81-year-old Jay Mendelsohn, a retired mathematician, sat in on his son’s Bard College undergraduate seminar on Homer’s Odyssey. They subsequently went on a “Retracing the Odyssey” cruise together. Again and again, epics like the Odyssey lend not just their structure but also their themes to Mendelsohn’s family story. Notions of heroism and masculinity are interrogated throughout. I suspect this will appeal more to classics buffs than to general readers. However, the quest, with its manifold aspects – to understand Homer’s epic in historical context, to rediscover its incidents in situ, and to reclaim a relationship before it’s too late – is affecting. Can one ever really know the whole of one’s parents’ story, Mendelsohn asks, given how much of a head start they’ve had on life? In this family memoir that plays around with classical literary forms and tropes, that’s the question that lingers.

See my full review at Shiny New Books.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
December 14, 2017 – Shelved
December 14, 2017 – Shelved as: bibliophiles-delight
December 14, 2017 – Shelved as: family-memoirs
December 14, 2017 – Shelved as: reviewed-shiny-new-books
December 14, 2017 – Shelved as: requested-from-publisher

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