Here is an audiobook that I will listen to and recommend to others because the story is timeless and the rendering in word and in voice is so fresh and clear.
It was when I began to realize just how foreign to our modern way of thinking is the whole pantheon of gods and godesses quarreling and playing tricks that formed the traditional foundation of ancient Greek life. We may view nature and the things that happen to us as the result of impersonal, physical forces or, perhaps, those forces being superintended by a benevolent, omnicient, omnipotent and omnipresent God. But o the Greeks of Homer's day, either notion would have seemed sacreligious and absurd.
Reading his own translation, Stanley Lombardo gave the characters the right pacing and inflection. Although he is not as gifted a reader as my favorite narrator, John Lee, the modern translation was so refreshing and clear that I didn't miss John's well-modulated tones. Some may feel that this translation was too 'free' compared with the cononical version, but it felt more natural to me. Susan Sarandon's voice was pleasant and her comments were helpful to visualize the structure of the chapter and to learn about the cultural aspects that are unknown to most of us. For example, Homer expects his audience to understand that women slaves washed the tired bodies of men, but that custom is as strange to us as their view of the dead in Hades. So having those brief introductions read by her was very helpful to me.
It was when Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, came back to his home and his faithful dog, Argos, dies after recognizing his master. Odysseus cannot allow anyone to realize that the dog recognized him, so he hides his tears. I am still very touched just to remember that scene representing faithulness and love.
Rumor has it that Prof. Lombardo plays the drums in the musical interludes introducing each chapter. If so, his drums and the haunting melody on a flute are a portal to move from Susan Sarandon's helpful introductions to travel back to the story. Penelope comes across as a strong hero in her own right and not some shrinking wallflower. Trying to imagine what life was like for even those at the top of society was quite a stretch.
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