"My fame is written in the heavens, and my fate too..." So speaks Odysseus as he starts to recount his struggles to sail home to Ithaca, in one of the greatest pieces of storytelling in Western literature. The Odyssey is his incredible traveller's tale, and also the story of his faithful wife Penelope who waits for him, besieged by suitors, and their son Telemachus who has a quest of his own.
In a 20-year journey, fabulous fantasy mixes with extraordinary reality as Odysseus encounters enchantresses, nymphs, monsters, prophets, and ghosts. From the temptations of the lotus flowers and the Sirens' song to the horrors of the Cyclops' cave and the Land of the Dead, the story of his encounters is riveting. We hear of Circe, who turned his men into swine; Calypso, who held Odysseus prisoner for seven years; and the dreadful six-headed monster Scylla who devoured some of his crew. And we hear of the Gods, who have a vital role to play...
Dramatised by major contemporary poet Simon Armitage to celebrate the return of the Olympics to Athens, this full-cast production brings Odysseus's adventures to vivid life, conveying all the excitement, suspense, and poetry of the original. A stunning aural rollercoaster ride, The Odyssey will have your heart in your mouth and stir your soul.
© and (P)2004 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
Judith Corstjens Author of: Xtensity, Why 5% of Dieters Succeed; Storewars: The Battle for Mindspace and Shelfspace; Strategic Advertising
I picked up this book rather randomly, more from a historical interest (the clues to what it was like to live in a time without news, electricity, the foggiest idea about evolution etc.) than for the story. And yet there were times when the story carried me away. Being of a similar age to Penelope and having a son not so unlike Telemachus, I could identify with the emotions of hubby and wife and son after 20 years of separation.
Narration. This is a performance, a dramatisation, not a book, and it is exactly what you would expect from the BBC. Professional, articulate, quality production.
BBC Dramatisations are funny things - they are often well produced, but the subject matter is either modern controversy-for-controversy's sake or an overwrought historical piece. Rarely do you get something that is skillfully acted, with a good story and that is a notable classic.
Happily, this Audiobook is all three, with the excellent Tim McInnerny (Captain Darling in 'Blackadder') as Odysseus, Amanda Redman as his long-suffering wife and many other well portrayed characters aside. The narrative flows well and creates convincing audio-landscapes which only go to prove that scenery is always better in your head!
My one criticism (to echo the 4 star reviewer 'Reeves') is the accuracy of the narrative. To make for an interesting story, the characters have been altered from what they should be, and the text itself (being a dramatisation) is not the same as the book. However, the story is fairly close to Homer's original intention, even if some of the narrative and personalities of the actors are a little different.
To conclude, this dramatisation is fantastic if you want to get a good impression of a classic story of the ancients. It is clearly no substitute for reading the real thing but, sometimes, things such as these can make subjects accessible to study, when previously they felt like swimming in treacle! I certainly have found this audiobook helped me appreciate a story that I would not have fathomed in other ways.
So, if you want some good listening for the car, then look no further than this book...
Poor Odysseus, after trekking across the sea under the banner of Agamemnon to kill a load of people, completely unconnected to the crime of their prince, now must face a ten year journey home to his beautiful wife, oh woe, Odysseus!
This BBC production is excellently told, and brings the story to life. The English accents may seem out of place but the quality of story-telling is marvelous.
Avid hooked listener get through many books, and relisten to the better books over and over again so tend not to delete ! mystery romance s
Love full cast audio this didn't disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed it the dramatisation was perfect, the visual perception of what I was I was hearing was amazing
This is very much a modern telling of the tale. The drama uses modern language and as a result has a different tone to the book. At one point Polyphemus (cyclops) is described as a one eyed retard! Also Telemachus's trip to pylos is missed out completely, he departs then he is back again.
Apart from the above, this is one of my favourite audiobooks. The cast is excellent and the story after all is an all time classic.
Very engaging enterpretation of the Homer story.
Meeting Calypso, this brought to life the analogous nature of the book which is what attracted me to it in the first place.
They are both great actors and amazing voices. Tim for this ?? I think it needs someone a little more macho than Tim as Lord Percy's character emerged from time to time.
I never listen to a book all in one sitting however as I was taking early morning walks around the Kas Peninsular in Turkey, it was perfect.
I felt thrilled and enlightened by the end of the play, jus fabulous.
I was looking forward to this as I came to it after listening to a brilliant 3 part BBC radio play based on the Ilyad. That play was full of interesting social commentary and successfully made several links between the source material and modern day political war, whilst also sensitivily handeling spirituality and even hinting at C S Lewis's fondley held belief of Jesus Christ furfilling paganism. Fascinating stuff!
This production doesn't hold a candle to it. The english 'regional accents' are terrible and sound very put on (is it necesary for the Cyclops to sound like a Yorkshireman?). There's far to much 'adult' purile humour. And worst of all, the classic story feels dragged out and over long.
I really can't recommend this production. I couldn't bring myself to finish listening to it in the end. I do however recommend the Naxos Children's classic production 'the tales of Odysseus' also availible from Audible.
I may be being a little harsh and I do intend to do back to this download with fresh ears and give it a second chance. But definitly listen to the preview before you buy this one.
"Excellent, but not an exam reference!"
This multi-voice dramatization of Homer's Odyssey is very well done, but don't use it to study for that exam on Greek literature.
The narrative is all there (I think), but the language is thoroughly modern. In a sense, it probably better recalls the true telling from Homer's day, since these Greek sailors were rough guys ready for a fight, and you get the feel from the language used here. Homer probably meant to convey that impression as well, but a direct translation probably would sound more stilted than anything.
Alas, there doesn't seem to be a corresponding performance of the Iliad on Audible.
"This was great"
This was my first audio book download and I was truly impressed. This was a great dramatization and I recommend it to everyone. The voices were professional and easy to listen to. And the whole production was also professional and enjoyable
"A way in to Homer"
This reading of the Odyssey is dramatised by Simon Armitage, one of Britain's finest contemporary poets. He manages to get across the sense of Homer's poem using contemporary language. It really works. The use of street language, for example, reminds us that Homer's companions were pretty rough and ready. The actors live up to Armitage's fine script. I'd strongly recommend this recording, first because listening to it is such a pleasure, and second because it is useful to anyone who needs a sense of this influential work--students of English literature, for example.
I wanted to get exposure to the story, but had always feared it would be dry and tough going. The dramatized version definitely added to the entertainment value and made the story much easier to pay attention to. I would highly recommend this dramatized version.
This audio book was Fantastic! This was my first audio book and it got me hooked on "Dramatized" books. A must have.
"An epic tale given a fitting treatment."
Homer's grand tale of Odysseus returning from the battle of Troy is meant to be heard, not read. This is a tale recounted around hearths and fireplaces for centuries, and it's lost nothing over all those years. Tim McInnerny is perfectly cast as Odysseus, weary and homesick warrior whose only desire is to see his beloved homeland of Ithica once more. McInnerny (known for his role as Percy and Darling on Blackadder) gives the role of Odysseus its full complexity - the bravado, grandeur, honour, wisdom, hubris, humility, fragility and desperation that the role requires. They couldn't have chosen better. This is a grand telling of an epic tale. Listen and be enchanted.
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