As a scholar, Fagles praises Homer's directness and simplicity, the breadth of his imagination, and the power of his song. As a translator, he brilliantly captures these very qualities, which makes this Iliad not only a superb literary work, but a tremendous listening experience.
Translated by Robert Fagles.
©1990 Robert Fagles; (P)1991 HighBridge Audio
I own this book and have been intending to read it for years. When I found it available on Audible, I knew that I would finally "read" it, and began listening to it. It was one of the first Audible books I purchased.
Being somewhat ignorant on the subjects dealt with in this book, I had to listen to the first hour about four times before it made sense to me, but I am so happy that I did. The rest of it was a piece of cake - very delicious. Who would have thought Homer would be so descriptive, funny, endearing and enlightening? I guess that is why this work has endured for so long.
I soon learned that the narrator makes or breaks an audio book, and Derek Jacobi is absolutely unbeatable as a narrator. I could listen to him all day. His characterizations are suburb. He made me laugh and cry. I will definitely listen to this one again and again.
This work is nothing short of magnificent. Superb translation and wonderful reading of the very poetic font of Western Civilization. Derek Jacobi's narration of the great battle scenes send chills down the spine. Leaves no doubt that the Iliad was made to be heard not read. I can't imagine anyone not being thrilled with this recording.
I have always loved Jacobi as an actor, but he cannot (or does not) top McKellen's reading of the Odyssey -- an impossible act to follow.
As for this Iliad, Fagles' translation is just as good as everyone says. True poetry. Jacobi's reading is adequate, but not as thoughtful or subtle as I'd expect of him. I'm guessing this was done in one take with very little or no research. Probably rushed. He lays on his unique brand of drama thick in places it does not really belong at all, and seemed to be faking his way through this reading in other ways too. I can make no sense at all of the random snippets read by Maria Tucci. Was there any thought behind that? I don't think so. Probably those were passages Jacobi had mangled the first go-round; and, having no way to get him back to the studio, they brought Tucci to the rescue. She does a good enough job, but I found it distracting listening to her -- mainly b/c I spent too much time wondering why the hell we needed a new narrator all of a sudden.
Harsh review, I know, but really: when dealing with a text as great as this one the publishers should have taken more care to rise to the occasion. They fell short, so this "only" warrants four stars. Could have, and should have, been a slam-dunk five.
I read this book for a class earlier in the year and really enjoyed the parts about the hero Diomedes. I was extremely disappointed when the parts I enjoyed the most were skipped.
Derek Jacobi demonstrates how a book should be read. He maintains a consistent voice for each and every character in the Iliad.
From the hard, cold martial air of Achilles to the languid sensuality of Paris to the twisted, biting sarcasm of Thersites, he makes the characters come alive on the strength of his voice.
This is exactly how a 3000 year old blind poet should sound on your iPod.
An avid reader, who also loves to listen.
A great story, lots of action and fighting, and a classic that has lasted the test of time. Excellent narration as well!
My only complaint is that the "next" function does not actually take me to the next book. I am a teacher, and would like to play the audio for my class who is reading from the textbook. The textbook only has certains books from the Iliad, but I can't find them on the audio, so it was a completely wasted purchase for me.
Important parts were skipped over and not even mentioned in the short summaries. Because of this the listener loses key aspects of the characters makeup and thus, misses great opportunities to interpret and understand seemingly simple dialogue and actions.
The team is perfect. Fagles was the man, and the narrators do a great job. But, when I bought the book, it said "unabridged" and it still does, in my library. On the site, it now says Abridged. Would have been nice to know.
Audible customer service is such, that "why bother?" comes to mind.
Errgh--why would you abridge THE ILIAD?! Especially when Derek Jacobi is reading it. He's awesome. But then, so is Homer.
Both. It's beautiful.
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