Visit our Christmas Gift Finder
An Odyssey: A Father, A Son and an Epic (Hardback)
  • An Odyssey: A Father, A Son and an Epic (Hardback)
zoom

An Odyssey: A Father, A Son and an Epic (Hardback)

(author)
£18.99
Hardback 304 Pages / Published: 07/09/2017
  • We can order this

Usually dispatched within 1 week

  • This item has been added to your basket
Your local Waterstones may have stock of this item. Please check by using Click & Collect
For nearly all of his life my father lived in one house the one he moved into a month before I was born, and which he left for the last time one January day in 2012, a year to the day after he started my course on The Odyssey.

From the award-winning, best-selling writer: a deeply moving tale of a father and son's transformative journey in reading - and reliving - Homer's epic masterpiece.

When eighty-one-year-old Jay Mendelsohn decides to enrol in the undergraduate seminar on The Odyssey that his son Daniel teaches at Bard College, the two find themselves on an adventure as profoundly emotional as it is intellectual.

For Jay, a retired research scientist who sees the world through a mathematician's unforgiving eyes, this return to the classroom is his `one last chance' to learn about the great literature he'd neglected in his youth - and, even more, a final opportunity to understand his son. But through the sometimes-uncomfortable months that follow, as the two men explore Homer's great work together - first in the classroom, where Jay persistently challenges his son's interpretations, and then during a surprise-filled Mediterranean journey retracing Odysseus' legendary voyages - it becomes clear that Daniel has much to learn, too: for Jay's responses to both the text and the travels gradually uncover long-buried secrets that allow the son to understand his difficult father at last.

As this intricately woven memoir builds to its wrenching climax, Mendelsohn's narrative comes to echo The Odyssey itself, with its timeless themes of deception and recognition, marriage and children, the pleasures of travel and the meaning of home.

Rich with literary and emotional insight, An Odyssey is a renowned author-scholar's most revelatory entwining yet of personal narrative and literary exploration.

'This is an accomplished, brave book that testifies to what is perhaps The Odyssey’s most abiding message: that intelligence has little value if it isn’t allied to love.' - The Guardian
`My favourite classicist once again combines meticulous literary investigation with warm and wrenching human emotion - books like these are why I love reading' - Lee Child

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780007545124
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 550 g
Dimensions: 240 x 159 x 31 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

`A brilliant family memoir ... At its core, it is a funny, loving portrait of a difficult but loving parent: ... An Odyssey is a stellar contribution to the genre of memoirs about reading - literary analysis and the personal stories are woven together in a way that feels both artful and natural. A thoughtful book from which non-classicists will learn a great deal about Homer ... A funny, loving portrait of a difficult but loving parent: a "much-turning man"' Emily Wilson, Guardian

`Combining an in-depth literary analysis with a personal narrative is a bold enterprise. An Odyssey could have been, in the hands of a lesser writer, grandiose. It isn't. It is so well written that every page makes you feel more alert and alive. The brilliance of An Odyssey lies in the insightfulness of the writing, as Mendelsohn immerses himself in the Odyssey: lives it, breathes it, and presses it for meaning' Helen Morales, TLS

`There are a handful of books that have captured the pleasure and romance of this subject. Donna Tartt's was one ... this is another. Homer has a phrase for those who can speak bewitchingly: they have `winged words'. Mendelsohn has winged words' The Times

`The book enacts a truth that has long been central to Mendelsohn's writing and teaching, which is that the great works of antiquity remain relevant today. His prose flits seamlessly across intervals and registers, switching from erudite exposition one minute to emotion-filled reminiscence the next. An accomplished, brave book that testifies to what is perhaps The Odyssey's most abiding message: that intelligence has little value if it isn't allied to love' Observer

`An exquisitely written book about fathers and sons, life and grief' Mail on Sunday

`Subtle, profoundly moving ... an intricately constructed, multidimensional journey of a father and son and their travails through life and love ... A book of shimmering, beautiful, dapple-skilled intelligence' Adam Nicolson, New York Times Book Review

You may also be interested in...

The Penguin Lessons
Added to basket
£7.99
Paperback
Another Fine Mess
Added to basket
£14.99
Paperback
The Hidden Ways
Added to basket
£9.99   £7.99
Paperback
Down Under
Added to basket
£8.99   £6.99
Paperback
Eastern Horizons
Added to basket
£9.99
Paperback
Erebus: The Story of a Ship
Added to basket
£20.00   £16.00
Hardback
Step By Step
Added to basket
£20.00   £16.99
Hardback
Lost Japan
Added to basket
£9.99   £7.99
Paperback
The Old Ways
Added to basket
£9.99   £7.99
Paperback
The Best of A. A. Gill
Added to basket
Watling Street
Added to basket
£9.99   £7.49
Paperback
Erebus: The Story of a Ship
Added to basket
The Silk Roads
Added to basket
£10.99   £8.49
Paperback
Beneath Another Sky
Added to basket
£12.99   £9.99
Paperback
Notes From A Small Island
Added to basket
£8.99   £6.99
Paperback
A Voyage For Madmen
Added to basket

Please sign in to write a review

Your review has been submitted successfully.