© (P) 2003 Commuter's Library
At first I was extremely hesitant to pay so much for an audible title. After carefully considering it I went ahead an made the purchase. I did not regret the expense of this recording one bit.
The narrative was concise and clear. The recording quality was excellent and consistent. There were very few of the annoying changes in the speaker?s volume and tempo that plague so many other recording that can do so much to spoil a work like the Illiad.
Instead the consistent narrative captured the emotion of the work without being campy or maudlin.
The best by far of the Illiad recordings that are available.
In the past, I had bogged down when trying to read The Illiad, but the Audible version helped me wade through the less inspiring portions of the story. The book reminds me of Moby Dick in the sense that the story can get lost in details at times. The pay-off is when you can look back on the completed tale and see that it has taught you something. The only negative to the Audible version is that each book, or chapter, begins with a synopsis of what is going to happen in the chapter as if the reader (listener) will not be able to figure it out. The result is that it takes away some of the excitement and drama.
If, like me, you've always wanted to read the Illiad, this is your chance. It's an excellent story and it is hard to believe it was written thousands of years ago. So much did I enjoy listening to The Illiad, that I am now listening to The Odyssey (which unfortunately is not nearly as good a translation and recording).
I found the recording and reading to be very good. It was easy to comprehend, and I believe the translation to be good.
If you do decide to listen to the book, it may be a little difficult in the beginning to follow the names, but stick with it!
The Illiad can seem slow at times, but it is definitely worth persisting.
Although there are sections that go through enormous detail about who slew whom, there are others of breathtaking beauty. The book provides incredible insight into how much and how little humans have changed over the past few millennia. A story of combat, loss and above all honor.
This translation is beautifully read, with the reader admirably bringing each character to life over 2500 years after they fell on the plains of Troy.
It's no substitute for the Greek, nor the Lattimore - and I couldn't live without the Pope version, either, for that matter - but it's pretty good: a fine translation, clearly recorded. I found some of the pronunciations a bit jarring at first but I quickly adapted to them; I love the thought, in these times, of a narrator of the Iliad with a North American accent. So it's near-perfect as an Iliad with which to share one's exercise-bike.
It's OK; Butler's prose translation makes a good choice for an audiobook, but Lescault is the wrong narrator for the job. Compare his overly-reverent reading to John Lee's rendition of "The Odyssey" by the same translator to see the difference. (Unfortunately, John Lee doesn't have a companion version of "The Iliad." If you want Butler's version of "The Iliad," this recording by Lescault may be your best bet.)
Narrator Lescaut does an outstanding job; his voice is full of passion and expression; he can modulate it and change it to accord to the personality of the subject; a tour de force
I liked this book. Its a very interesting reading. It gives a feel about the ancient Greek culture and is a fun book to listen to. The translation is excellent and so is the reading. It does get a bit boring in between and for some reason I felt that the end was not totally appropriate. I mean what happened to the war ultimately?
But nevertheless it is a good book and very interesting. I like mythology and stuff like that. So buy it if such topics interest you. I liked it so much that I am considering buying the Odysseus.
Definately worth it.
To think this story has come to us after nearly 3000 years is impressive in itself. It is worth reading simply as a piece of history. It captures part of an epic tale in an era of glory and bloodlust and of battles that lasted years, and we learn much of their time and culture. Taken purely as a story, however, it falls short. For all its length, not much happens, and we are left hanging just before the sacking of Troy and the use of the wooden horse, and of the much-foretold death of Achilles. There are many long, repetitious, flowery speeches outside and in the middle of battles, which at first are poetic, but after a few hours they get tiring. Plus it's hard to imagine warriors locked in mortal combat speaking to each other in this way. There is little suspense, because if you aren't already familiar with the tale of Achilles, there is a lead-in to each chapter that tells you what is going to happen in it. Most frustrating of all, the gods are constantly interfering. Seriously, every few minutes some god does something to mess with the lives of our heroes. As with all deus ex machina, the struggles of mortal characters become pointless. At one point Zeus says "let us leave the mortals to fight it out among themselves" but none of the gods actually do, including him. The sheer volume of foreign names become hard to follow, especially since characters are often referred to as just "the son of soandso", so I went to The Gutenberg Project to download a hard copy, and skimmed it so I could follow what was going on. I also did some 'net searches to find out more of Achilles' saga, because this story leaves so much of it out. I was then able to fully appreciate it. The narrator speaks more as an orator than as an actor, which suits the material here. For all I've said, I did enjoy the story, especially the second half. Apparently the original story was written in meter like Shakespeare, but that doesn't come through in this translation. It seems faithful otherwise.
If it was narrated by Derek Jacoby it would be better. When slicing and dicing on the battlefield are discussed, few can "say it like you mean it" better than he. My search (on Amazon) was for "Iliad Derek Jacoby" and this was the top choice audiobook. It had Derek Jacoby in the heading, but alas, he is nowhere to be heard on this Iliad. I just hope the CD I found actually has Derek: my cassette copy is worn-out.
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