(P) and ©1996 Penguin Books USA Inc.
"To re-create a world where everything is living...is very nearly as difficult as to create it. Fagles does this with triumphant assurance; every arrowhead flashes lightning, every bush burns; Homer is with us." (James Dickey)
I am an 19 year old international student from New Zealand currently studying at a great books school, St. John's College. So I read A LOT.
This audiobook is absolutely fantastic, and Ian McKellen's narration is first rate (for those of you who don't know who is is, he played Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings movies). It is by far the best audio adaption of a classical text that I have ever heard. Buy it. Seriously
The translation is wonderful, and the narration absolutely superb. I cannot imagine a better way to approach this 'classic' of classical literature.
First of all, this is a beautiful recording and translation of the Odyssey. For those, wishing to attempt Homer's epics, I highly suggest you start with the excellent Fagles rendering of the Iliad, also available here on audible and free of the quality problems that plague this file.
What mars this book has nothing to do with the narration or translation, but with the quality of the audio file itself. There is an earlier review here that states that the speed of the recording has been slowed down in one of the chapters. It even sounds like a different narrator. Some files sound pristine and clear, every OTHER file sounds like they recorded it through a closet wall. I found myself adjusting the treble on my speakers constantly.
I contacted Audible, and although they did respond; they wanted specific. All they have to do is to have an actual listener sit down and listen to these files on bigger sound system than that of a laptop or e-reader. I have yet to see a resolution.
The translation is not overly wordy but still very eloquent. The narrarator is an absolutely perfect fit! This is the only book I've listen to the literraly had me yelling out with glee on more then one occasion!
WARNING - YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO STOP LISTENING TO THIS!
Both Robert Fagles translation and Ian McKellen's reading are superb. However, at about five hours in, the recording began to exhibit technical glitches related to speed. I re-downloaded the audiobook, but to no avail. No matter how good McKellen is, listening to someone's voice slowed down or sped up is too annoying, especially for a work that already demands so much attention.
Fagles' is an excellent translation, and the reader is outstanding. One of the best contemporary translations. However, despite the "unabridged" label, this version appears to be subtly edited or cut down.
No-one can beat Sir Ian at this kind of thing. He's probably one of the greatest performers of classical text. He doesn't just recite the verse, he speaks it. He speaks every sentence with immaculately chosen intonations that communicate meaning and emotion perfectly. I can't imagine a better reader to bring out the depth and magic of Homer.
Say something about yourself!
As you can expect, especially if you have taken some time to read other reviews of this book, the narration of Sir Ian McKellen is absolutely top notch. He flows through the text as though he were born to it, with no pauses at places where the order, and choice of words, show how very long ago this was written. His inflection help make the story become larger than life, and showcases why this is considered to be such a grand, sweeping, epic.
I have read an account of this book as a child, but wanted to experience the epic in its full timeless glory. I have to admit, I was a little surprised at how many tears were shed by practically everyone included in the story. They do not detract much from the deeds of the most unlucky of heroes, Odysseus; but there were times in which they did not seem to enhance the story much either.
There were a couple of places where there seemed to be minor technical issues. A word clipped, resulting in missing perhaps a second or two of reading. Later, a section of narration lasting several minutes, where it seemed the speed of the recording was reduced by a small percentage. Just enough to lower the pitch of Ian's voice and make him sound a bit tired. Based on the rest of the narration, I am confident that this was not the case, but rather an unfortunate effect of the audio editing.
I highly recommend this audio book, and can see it as a wonderful supplement to a high school or college course in which the Odyssey is required reading. I am glad that I finally made the choice to experience this ancient classic.
His voice is like honey and thunder and velvet all rolled into one.....studied Homer at school....would have been so much better with Sir Ian reading it to me
Ian McKellan's narration of the Odyssey is delightful. I love listening to his mellifluous voice, as he describes the "twists and turns" of Odysseus voyage home. Highly recommended!
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