Book Review: An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic

You don’t need to be familiar with The Odyssey to enjoy this book. By the time you finish this, you may want to read it. The author is a classics professor. Dad starts attending his lectures on The Odyssey. The book chronicles the themed cruise that they go on together. And it is almost a mini classics class for the reader.
Since I’ll be rereading it with my son this year and I did enjoy listening in to the lecture/discussions between the father and son in this memoir. I think when I am rereading I’m going to see a bunch of viewpoints that I missed the two times through, thanks to Mendelsohn’s descriptions. For one thing, how did I miss that one of the main themes of The Odyssey is the father/son relationship? I never thought about the story that way at all.
I’ll tell you that the circle back/time-jumping narrative confused me at first until I realized that the author was telling his story in parallel to The Odyssey. The long passages lifted out of the original were often a perfect fit for the modern part of the story.
Even if you have no intention of ever reading The Odyssey, this crash course in Greek philology is well worth your reading time. The first 100 pages or so are a bit meandering, but if you stick with it, you’ll be glad to see the author and his father to the inevitable end of their story.

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