A very easy listen, that is until you realize how beautifully rich and powerful the simple prose weaves this wonderful epic, and then you get hooked. I actually stopped my morning run to finish listening so that I wouldn't have distractions. EXCELLENT! I am looking forward to listening to it again, and will probably go back to it every few months just to help myself regain grounding in life.
What a great experience this version of the epic is! What a pleasure to listen to. Normally I would bemoan the unscholarly treatment Mitchell has given the story; I'd never condone such loose treatment of, say, the Homeric epics. But given the fragmentary nature of the epic as it has come down to us, such a treatment is the only way to enable us modern readers to really dig in to the story, to experience it as a literary work rather than an archeological artifact. And what a wonderful story, and a titanic literary achievement it is!
George Guidall is fantastic as always; one could not ask for a better reading.
Listeners should note that the epic itself is only about half of the audiobook. The second half is an essay about the epic as literature, its discovery, and the editor's process. Not a bad essay, though a little lightweight.
Gilgamesh lends itself to repeated listening, the story is timeless and so moving, the vocal performance captures the rich humanism of the tale. I have enjoyed listening together with my child, and plan to keep this one in our family e-library forever.
When Enkiku faces his curse, first with anger then with heroism, it's so memorable and wonderful, I cried. There are also some laugh out loud moments too, when Gilgamesh resists the seduction of the Goddess there are some hilarious lines. The love between the two heroes is so touching.
His pacing is spot on, it really captures the tone of the action, and he has just the right degree of expressiveness too, he's really just perfect for this story.
The whole book is wonderful, I genuinely did laugh out loud, and cried too. The friendship between the heroes is on par with the brotherly love in Lord of the Rings. Beautiful.
If you are at all interested in the great classics grab this ebook. It's easy for even a child to follow the story, the background notes are ample but not at all overwhelming, a fantastic introduction to a timeless and deeply beautiful story. The language is frankly sensual, vivid, and rich, extremely enjoyable.
I loved finally being able to read Gilgamesh. I appreciate that the author had taken existing translations and made a story out of them without having to be distracted by the fragmentary nature of what has been found so far.
From the very start of the story, I was captivated. My imagination was immersed in a long passed civilization existing in a world unimaginably ancient. Gilgamesh was relevant to my life. More so than much of the books and stories, told as movies, produced today.
There is so much depth here. So much intellectual wealth. If you have always wanted to approach Gilgamesh, this may be one of the best ways.
The only downside is the commentary after the epic. For one thing, it is so much less compelling than the epic that I went back and listened to the epic once again before finishing the slog through the commentary. There were some edifying moments but it would have been much better if the author didn't feel the need to get across just how much he disapproved of George W. Bush and the Iraq war. I got it in one. I was also annoyed at how he assigned certain motivations and insights to the poet which he couldn't possibly be able to prove. At times it seemed as if the author was attempting to turn this treasure of the world into some trite piece of propaganda.
But Gilgamesh prevails in the end and Stephen Mitchell should both be congratulated and rebuked.
The story of Gilgamesh is an engaging saga that deals with timeless issues that are common to the human race. It gives great insight into early Mesopotamian culture and includes stories that were obviously common to a multitude of ancient middle eastern societies like the Great Flood.
I will simply say that I enjoyed George Guidall's reading of the book.
The additional essay of the
I enjoyed the way the book formatted the story itself, but the reader wasn't the best choice. He didn't really stumble on it, or do anything extremely wrong, but I think a more youthful and ardent voice would be more appropriate and would help bring the story to life better. The audiobook was on sale for a very low price, so it was worth the cost, but I would have been more disappointed if I'd used a full credit for the purchase.
I read this to learn what ancients thought to be the “big issues” and to think about whether or not there are universal values; innate ideas; and issues that we share with the writer of Gilgamesh. I was thrilled with this version, the language, and the reading. Short of reading the original languages I feel that I’ve gotten as close as I can get to “being there.”
The story confirms that ancients struggled with the issue of our mortality as we do. When I see efforts to leave enduring legacies by having buildings named for us, having monuments erected in our honor, and even telling stories that we hope will be told of us when we’re in the grave I think of Gilgamesh and Enkidu slaying Humbaba in order to make names for themselves and of the elaborate memorials created by Gilgamesh to ensure that Enkidu would be honored and not forgotten. When I think of religious ideas of our day, promising eternal life to those who will do what is required to overcome death I think of the whole quest of Gilgamesh. When I see television commercials advertising “age-defying” creams I immediately think of the plant to which Utnapishtim directed Gilgamesh when he could not help him solve the ultimate problem of death.
These ancients spoke of those who were “ancient” to them and of a city older than the mind can imagine. Is human civilization much older than we now suppose it to be?
This story and elements in the Bible are similar. We could mistake some passages in Gilgamesh for similar passages in Genesis or the Book of Ecclesiastes. Did writers of the Bible borrow from this story? Is there an earlier source from which both borrowed? Are the ideas simply what any enquiring mind trying to answer the hard questions might pull up from some internal well of human consciousness? Has a divine being literally revealed these ideas to humans? Gilgamesh raises questions that could keep you busy for a lifetime and the effort to try to answer them could, itself, become your life’s quest.
This amazing, ancient story was so well read it brought tears to my eyes. I know I couldn't have enjoyed this epic story nearly as much had I read it myself. These ancient stories are meant to be heard not read. The resonance and timber of the readers voice brought this poem alive and was as thrilling today as It most likely was to the first listeners. If you liked Audible's reading of Beowulf then the reading of Gilgamesh will not disappoint.