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Summary

A man seduces another's wife then kidnaps her. The husband and his brother get a gang together to steal her back and take revenge. The woman regrets being seduced and wants to escape whilst the man's entourage resent the position they have been placed in. Yet the battle lines have been drawn and there is no going back....

Not the plot of the latest Hollywood thriller, but the basis of The Iliad - the Greek classic that details the war between the Greeks and the Trojans after the kidnapping of Helen of Sparta. Based on the superb M.L. West edition of the Greek, this Iliad is more readable and moving than any previous version. Thanks to the scholarship and poetic power of the highly acclaimed Stephen Mitchell, this new translation recreates the energy and simplicity, the speed, grace, and continual thrust and pull of the original.

Book 10, recognized since ancient times as a later addition to the Iliad, has been omitted in this translation.

©2011 Stephen Mitchell (P)2011 Simon and Schuster

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jason
  • CAPE TOWN South Africa
  • 06-06-14

Tedious Brilliance

Would you try another book written by Homer and Stephen Mitchell (translator) or narrated by Alfred Molina?

Stephen Mitchell, Yes, Homer, not so much. Alfred Molina was delightful.

Would you ever listen to anything by Homer and Stephen Mitchell (translator) again?

Stephen Mitchell's translations of the Bhagavad Gita and the Tao Te Ching are amongst my most prized possessions. I would read a shopping list by Mitchell, and bought this book on the strength of that. Unfortunately, whilst the text was beautifully written, I found the fighting and mayhem tedious. It was like a Shoot-em-up movie's car chase that just went on and on and on, and you find yourself going off to the fridge to get another beer. It could handle a good abridging, I suppose. Then again, parts of the story were most touching and wonderful.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Probably the various scenes of the gods discussing the battle and their strategies. Moments of reflection on the part of Achilles were also wonderfully written.

Do you think The Iliad needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I think Homer did that with the Odyssey, didn't he?

Any additional comments?

I was in equal parts delighted and bored stiff. It was the best of books, it was the worst of books. I accept that that is probably just a poor reflection on my cultural development, but there you go. Joe Ordinary, beware.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant intro; Fab translation; Great reader

A wonderful translation of Homer's epic poem read by Alfred Molina, but for me the best thing was translator Stephen Mitchell's long introduction on what makes this book such a Classic. Inspirational!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • HC
  • 12-09-14

A wonderful modern translation and performnce

What made the experience of listening to The Iliad the most enjoyable?

The introduction was excellent. The modern translation was stunning and allowed the original poetry to shine through. So much more accessible than the translation i read 30 years ago.

What does Alfred Molina bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

It is always good to be able to put this type of story into context.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no - this narrative is structured around a whole series of battles/skirmishes and there is a limit to how much one wants to digest at a sitting

Any additional comments?

Please bear in mind that this story ends with the death of Hector - if you think you are going to hear about the Trojan horse, you will need to read the Aeneid

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • giki
  • scotland....
  • 20-03-18

This book is actually extraodinary.

What about Alfred Molina’s performance did you like?

The reader is engaging, although occasionally can be difficult to understand, some sections of dialogue are read quickly for effect. The differentiation between the various charecter voices was not especially noticable.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It was gripping and heartwrenching

Any additional comments?

I don't know what I expected, I have read around the Illiad for years. I have read books on the history, I have seen documentaries, I have read novels which feature the charecters, I am a huge fan of Brad Pitt, but for some reason I had never found the courage to read the actual book. I guess I thought in might be dense and complex, or worse, just plain dull. I didn't want to risk disappontment. And then there is the question of which translation to read, there are many. If I choose the wrong one would it put me off Homer for life? I had to do a bit of research, I decided to go for an audiobook so trawled through the samples. The Stephen Mitchell translation appealed the most. It is perhaps one of the less poetic translations but it is clear, vivid and easy to follow. There is also a few introductuary chapters which discuss different aspects of the story, the are concise and interesting and added a lot to my understanding of the story.
This is a great story though, written over 2.5 thousand years ago its themes are still relevant today, I know everyone says that, you can peer back through time and get an impression of real people - there loves and hopes and fears. The horror and gore of the battles is vividly described, and then we a whisked away to a lone woods man felling a tree by a river, or a lion staking a fawn. It is a powerful and emotional book. It is extraodinary for what it is, but also and most importantly an entertaining and gripping read.

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  • Alex
  • 09-04-12

Brilliant

First impression of this audio book is Alfred Molena's butter smooth voice and British accent. It is simply and beautifully read and an absolute pleasure to listen to. This is my first encounter with the Illiad so I can't compare the translation, but found it thoroughly accessible and engaging. As for the story itself, in a word, gruelling. Not in a negative way but this is, if you like, 'R rated' reading for the violence. But the macchinations and quarrels of gods and men are intriguing and Homer's use of imagery is delightful.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful