The Odyssey is famous for its survival from antiquity but also as one of the great original pieces of literature and poetry of humanity. Nothing is more astounding about the Odyssey than the fact that it exists and for that alone it is worth anyone's time to read or listen. Regardless of the story, its presentation provides a glimpse of Greek culture around 800 B.C. which also cannot be overvalued.
However, the story of Odysseus is not my favorite and requires a greater than novice-level appreciation for Greek mythology. Without this prerequisite, the character of the gods are largely untranslated to the reader. Even still, the inclusion of the gods (or some of them) is annoying since they seem so inconsistent and juvenile, not to mention categorically misogynistic - but that's a whole different debate. The whole time I read/listened to The Odyssey I was constantly wondering how many Greeks really bought into the story of the gods and how many of them just went through the motions due to social pressures. For me, this tenant of the poem was too much to get around.
The editing of this recording was simply atrocious. There are 24 books in the Odyssey and the audiobook from audible.com broke it up into 24 chapters which would seem to correlate. However, the majority of the books ended in the middle of the chapters, if you catch my meaning. Moreover, it felt as if the sound levels and quality were different from chapter to chapter (not from book to book). And finally, despite his immense popularity, I felt Sir Ian McKellen's performance was lacking in imagination. All-in-all, I felt the audiobook was rather disappointing and would recommend an inquiring listener to choose a different version.
The narration was too fast and very confusing.
It moved too fast. Hard to keep up. This wasn't easy listening. I felt like if I sneezed I would missed something.
I heard good things about this classic, but I couldn't get into it.
I cannot not blame Sir Ian McKellen for the performance but the people who put it together should be ashamed!! The tone sound of McKellen's voice changes from chapter to chapter (yes chapter not Book) and when I first heard it I thought it was a different reader.
The Odyssey has 44 Books in it, this audio version has 24 chapters. One would think they correspond. DO NOT ASSUME THEY DO! Example - Book 8 begins in the middle of Chapter 6. Go figure!
Yes--the book is so rich and the narration is fabulous.
The tones of voice he uses for each character bring an element of depth and insight to the reading. Also, it is helpful to hear the names pronounced correctly rather than trying to figure it out on your own.
Nope...far too long for that.
Great experience. I would recommend any narration by Ian McKellen.
Audio Addict / Autodidact
I might listen to it again for research purposes.
I like Ian McKellen's narration the best. He does a great job throughout.
As other reviewers have mentioned, there are several places where it's apparent that some of the narration has been dropped or clipped. Also, the sound quality is inconsistent. Sometimes it's clear and rich, other times it's barely audible. If not for Ian McKellen's narration, I probably would not have finished this book.
I would highly recommend this audible book. My son had to read it for school. He did love the storyline, however, before we purchased the audible book, he had been trying to read it in book form. He is a great reader, but even advanced readers can't possibly know how to pronounce all of those Greek names without taking up a lot of extra time. By purchasing this audible book, our son was able to listen to McKellen, who is so enticing to listen to, and not spend any wasted time figuring out names. Now, our son can truly say he ENJOYED the Odyssey, instead of laboring through it. I would highly recommend this audible.com book!
Great book but on iTunes when you select chapters on the top bar, it should go directly to that book instead of a random point in a random book
This reading of the greatest of all stories is stiff and stilted. It detracts significantly from the pleasure of Fagles' fine translation.
It is as if Ian McKellen is trying to impart the book's greatness by adopting a rigid, self-conscious formality. Of course, this has the opposite effect - simply getting in the way of the text. Its a surprising and disappointing effort from a strong actor with a fine voice.
Sadly I'd have to say save your money, increase your pleasure and read it yourself.
As noted with many other reviews, the audio quality is horrendous. One of the earlier books slowed down to about half speed and other books' audio quality are very poor.
A wonderfully sustained performance - perfect match of sensitive, evocative reading and magnificent oral work.