Translated by Stanley Lombardo. Introduction by Susan Sarandon.
©2000 Hackett Publishing Company; (P)2006 Parmenides Publishing
"Stanley Lombardo provides a welcome translation, contemporary in its rhythms, assurance, and clarity....this version of the Greek classic sounds honest, intimate, and, most importantly, clear." (AudioFile)
Even more captivating than its sister saga "Iliad" this translation and performance succeeds brilliantly in bringing a historic classic alive for the modern listener/reader. The images are vibrant, the saga captivates. Absolutely a fabulous listen - it is as if you are sitting around a fire as the storyteller takes you on a journey!
I have many translations of Homer ...Fitzgerald, Fagles etc ... and have begun them all. Finished none. Something always bothered me. Finally realizing they seemed "contrived". Reading them also seemed ... wrong. Homer was spoken ...even performed. Yes it's all been said but ... I speaking Italian fluently and realize translating Italian poetry to English in the same meter with forced rhymes (English famously not as Poetic as Italian or Greek) is iffy at best. I am also a writer of poetry, music and musician. With Stanley Lombardo it sounds "natural." Unforced. And ...most importantly, natural, understandable and entertaining which were and are the first principles of any entertainer. With which Homer was certainly most concerned. Closing my eyes ...with a "wine dark glass with cut apples and pears" soaking in it and a good cigar) outside. THIS is as close to imagining Homer reciting. This is how life should be lived.
Mr. Lombardo's translation isn't poetic, but The Odyssey was originally an oral epic, meant to entertain and instruct the common man, (not the highbrows of the day). This translation is down to earth and easy to understand without losing any of Homer's dignity, so get ready for some swashbucking.
Sound quality is excellent for Audible, Ms. Sarandon gives a summary each chapter at its beginning, while sometimes unnecessary, this makes the story easy to follow. Mr. Lombardo does an excellent job reading his translation and speaks very clearly. Even though I'm a hardcore LOTR fan I still think that Lombardo's reading seems more natural than Sir Ian's reading of Fagles translation. Also the music in between chapters is nice and won't destroy your ears (like the audiobook for the Fagles translation) will.
Waited for a long time to listen to an audio version of Odyssey. I was not aware of the extreme differences in translation until I started listening to Lombardo's translation and his use of conversational English. I prefer the transalation of Robert Fagle. Fagle's translation seems have the atmosphere of the poems more as they would have been in Homer's era. It is all translation we listen to which brings great changes with it anyway. I am not a scholar but do believe it is important to preserve the "feel" which this one does not for me. It seems more like a comic book form. I will listen to it but am disappointed and wished I had done a bit more research before downloading this version.
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.
There are few works of fiction that I bother to read more than once, but I have reread the Odyssey numerous times. The techniques that Homer uses, such as having other characters tell us about Odysseus for the first 4 books, seem so modern. And it's a classic "Show, don't tell" work, as we learn about the characters through what they say and doo rather than from the author's lengthy descriptions.
I have read several translations, and I would compare this one to the one by E V Rieu that we used in high school decades ago. By this I mean it is good readable, and listenable, English. The short summaries of each book are short enough not to be bothersome if you don't need them, but would help the first-time listener.
Lombardo's reading is superb. He reads at just the right speed. And the expression he puts into each character's words is convincing.
If you've never read the Odyssey before, you're depriving yourself of a great story brilliantly told. And for those who enjoyed it long ago, it won't be a waste of reading time to have another go.
Well narrated. I like the occasional notes from Susan Sarandon.
The Odyssey is a favorite story that I read as a child. As an adult, this audio book surprised me at the involvement of the Gods in the daily lives of the Greeks. A Wonderful story.
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