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 am required by this app to write a review of the audiobook I just listened to. So here it goes, it was audible.
But to be honest I think it's the best reading of the Gilgamesh tale I've come across. I'm not going to waste your time by stating obvious facts. The only fact I will say is that I enjoyed it. If you like ancient poems you can't go wrong with this reading. Too bad audible doesn't have more books about the ancient Mesopotamians or any of their kings.
I may be in the minority. I was wooed by the many good reviews and the historical importance of this book. But I was sorely disappointed. I found this read, and the reader to be very tedious. The story is quite repetitive (to the point where I actually thought, during some passages,that there was a problem with my player repeating earlier tracks!) and while it may be steeped in symbolism (or is that merely a modern interpretation of the ancients?) it struck me as being very slow and simplistic.
I couldn't WAIT for this to end. For me, the reader's dramatic affectation only made me wish it would end even sooner.
A beautifully rendered piece of literary art brought to us from the distant, forgotten past by two great masters, the writer and the narrator.
I'll read it twice along with the notes. What a great view of human search for meaning, where we end up where we started out, only to find that the greatest journey is the one that takes place right where you are, coming home to the real you.
Guidall and Mitchell seems to make a nice team. This version of Gilgamesh was much better than I expected. It felt contemporary and yet timeless at the same time. The quickly changing chapters and Guidall's effective narration kept me hooked.
The reading is not over four hours. The entire reading of Gilgamesh is about half of that. The other half is a lengthy introduction providing considerable context about the piece that sensibly is placed afterward. I did not listen to the entire introduction after the fact as I was reading about Gilgamesh online while listening.
Great way to get acquainted with one of the oldest known pieces of literature and mythology. It does not disappoint.
When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.
If you want a fairly easy follow-able version of the Gilgamesh epic without the endless repetions in the text, but true in most other aspects to the epic and read by an extraordinary narrator, I strongly recommend Stephen Mitchell's English rendition of "Gilgamesh."
It is not a translation of the Akkadian standard version or the Old Babylonian fragmentary version of Gilgamesh, but a retelling of the story in trimeter stichoi. That said Stephen Mitchell, a poet, translator and reteller of some fame, captures the essence and even the details of the Gilgamesh epic splendidly. He follows the standard Akkadian version of the text, but where it seems too fragmentary he supplements it with the Old Babylonian and Sumerian versions. He has used seven different academic translations of the Gilgamesh epic which he conservatively combined into one text. Thereafter he wrote it over in verse form. This thorough treatment of the story, makes it an excellent version to listen to even as a scholar. It is very accessible. It is meant to feel authentic.
I am of the opinion that George Guidall as choice of narrator is spot on. He is an outstanding narrator whom delivers once again. (I think his performance is on par with his reading of Eli Wiezel's Night.)
After the story of Gilgamesh is narrated an essay by the author is read by another narrator (whose name has slipped me). It is an overview and interpretation of the epic by Stephen Mitchell. Most of the content is rock-solid information, though I am not sure if he is always spot-on with his analysis of the epic. Be that as it may, it is not enough to default him on a single star, as this is truly a magnificent version of the ancient Gilgamesh Epic.
If you are not sure if you should buy it, because it is not a strict translation, I can heartily recommend it. I admire Mitchell's ability to resurrect the ancient epic of Gligamesh so that it can be relevant today.
yes, mainly for the story itself
The story was very interesting with the many comparisons to the bible, however I did not agree with the essay after the story. The essay made the bible an inferior book and tried to give Gilgamesh more importance in literary history.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.