In the ancient city of Uruk, the tyrannical King Gilgamesh tramples citizens "like a wild bull". The gods send an untamed man named Enkidu to control the ruthless king, but after fighting, Enkidu and Gilgamesh become great friends and embark on a series of adventures. They kill fearsome creatures before Enkidu succumbs to disease, leaving Gilgamesh despondent and alone. Eventually, Gilgamesh moves forward, and his quest becomes a soul-searching journey of self-discovery.
Mitchell's treatment of this extraordinary work is the finest yet, surpassing previous versions in its preservation of the wisdom and beauty of the original.
©2004 Stephen Mitchell; (P)2004 Recorded Books LLC
"Stephen Mitchell's Gilgamesh is a wonderful version....This is certainly the best that I have seen in English." (Harold Bloom)
"Here is a flowing, unbroken version that reads as effortlessly as a novel....Vibrant, earnest, unfussibly accesible....The muscular eloquence and rousing simplicity of Mitchell's four-beat line effectively unleashes the grand vehemence of the epic's battle scenes." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Mitchell seeks language that is as swift and strong as the story itself. He conveys the evenhanded generosity of the original poet....This wonderful new version of the story of Gilgamesh shows how the story came to achieve literary immortality: not because it is a rare ancient artifact, but because reading it can make people in the here and now feel more completely alive." (Publishers Weekly)
I'm a web developer based out of Sacramento, I listen to books while I work, and love audible.
I normally don't enjoy epic poems, but this one was actually quite entertaining. It didn't just focus on a bunch of amazing deeds done by the hero, but showed a bit more real emotion, and the story itself was entertaining.
This has often been compared with Seamus Heaney's Beowulf, but I found it even more enjoyable (and I love Heaney's Beowulf). All the stuff I remember struggling with in college--repetition, non-sequiturs--disappears in this version of Gilgamesh. And George Guidall's reading could not be better-suited to the work.
At first the story seemed like an old spoken tale. This is to say simple and repetitive to make it easy to remember and recite. The words used were simple and concise. However, with its simplicity I began to notice my imagination ran wild filling in the gaps that the original author merely hinted at. The tale seemed easy to grasp and enjoyable. This is true even with the vast amount of time since the story was first recorded and the huge culture barrier between the original authors culture and my own.
After the story there is an essay from the modern translator / author. To me, this was just as interesting as the story itself. The modern author explains the characters, places, events and dissects the story to show an amazing level of depth and complexity that I completely overlooked. After listening to the essay I have an entirely new appreciation for the ancient tale.
This deserves five star not because of the book/story itself, but because it is the cornerstone of the fantasy, epic, and adventure genres. It gives us a glimpse into the creativity and imagination of ancient authors, and it reveals parallels between the (anti-)heroes of antiquity and those of today. Every reader should read it, if only to appreciate the history of storytelling.
Furthermore, the author/translator does an amazing job in his essay describing the details of the epic and the literary meanings of the story.
Not bad for one of the first literary works ever written and the oldest epic. Plot is what you expect from a Hero's journey from the time in history. Hero with some god ancestry goes off on a quest, does good, does bad, tragedy strikes, seek answers, etc. Has one of the oldest recorded flood stories.
I found the repetitive parts annoying, and by now the basic plot has been used in other stories. Still for a short story it has more emotional and plot range then some novels I've read. Deals heavily with the theme of friendship and loss.
The version I read had about just as much author essay's and notes on the story and history as the story itself. Helps to bring into context the society at the time, such as the usage of women.
If your trying to expand your literary knowledge, it's a good and relatively short read.
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