Prime logo Prime members: New to Audible?
Get 2 free audiobooks during trial.
Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
Premium Plus auto-renews for $14.95/mo after 30 days. Cancel anytime.
The Odyssey  By  cover art

The Odyssey

By: Homer,Robert Fagles - translator
Narrated by: Ian McKellen
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $9.44

Buy for $9.44

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's summary

The Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of every man's journey through life. In the myths and legends that are retold here, the energy and poetry of Homer's original is captured in a bold, contemporary idiom, giving us an edition of The Odyssey that is a joy to listen to, worth savoring and treasuring for its sheer lyrical mastery. 

This audiobook is sure to delight both the classicist and the general listener and to captivate a new generation of Homer's students. 

(P) and ©1996 Penguin Books USA Inc.

Critic reviews

"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)
"It's a deeply satisfying experience to listen to McKellen's subtle, resonant voice weave the story. Cherish the images as the web of this great tale is woven before the eyes of the mind." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about The Odyssey

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,346
  • 4 Stars
    689
  • 3 Stars
    213
  • 2 Stars
    89
  • 1 Stars
    101
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,232
  • 4 Stars
    409
  • 3 Stars
    171
  • 2 Stars
    60
  • 1 Stars
    78
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,170
  • 4 Stars
    506
  • 3 Stars
    150
  • 2 Stars
    47
  • 1 Stars
    52

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Beautiful recording marred by audio problems!

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 specifics. 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.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

202 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fagles yes, McKellen yes, Production NO!

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

The narration is excellent, as is the translation; however, the production is terrible. The first thing I noticed is that in many places the recording skips or hiccups. This is absolutely unacceptable. As others have stated, if an actual human had checked this recording before it was offered for sale then these glitches would have been caught and hopefully corrected. As others have stated, the pitch also varies in places which is a shame because the narration is superb.

Hey Audible - ummm Amazon - I know you don't care but we pay for these recordings with real money. This is the age of options and you might find that your customers have gone elsewhere because you stopped caring. Maybe that's why, after being an Audible member since 2006, I canceled my membership.

You can do better, Amazon!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

165 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A masterpiece marred by technical glitches

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.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

72 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Embarrassingly bad audio

What disappointed you about The Odyssey?

I'm only a few hours in, but the sound quality is on par with AM radio with a few skips thrown in for good measure. Some tracks sound better than others. The fact that other reviewers have noted the poor quality of this book for years and Audible has done nothing about it really tells you something about this company. You'd think with a title this popular they'd address the problem, or maybe the publisher would tell Audible to get their act together. Pretty pathetic. Save your credit and go check this one out from the library.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Amazing performance, amazing story.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

64 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Extremely poor recording

What disappointed you about The Odyssey?

Great story

What about Ian McKellen’s performance did you like?

Great voice. Very pleasant to listen to.

Any additional comments?

Great translation, Great narrator..why not hire an engineer who knows what he is doing?
It is wonderful until about chapter 13, then it goes completely off the rails.
Don't waste your time or money on this one.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Some chapter starts/audio issues

Any additional comments?

The 4 star rating in this case is only for the 2005 Penguin Audio audiobook edition of Robert Fagles' 1996 translation of Homer's The Odyssey. This is not a reflection on Fagles' translation or Ian McKellen's narration which are both 5 stars. The lower rating is only due to a few chapter/verse timing issues and the occasional distraction due to the ambience of different recording sessions combined into one audiobook. The recording is from the pre-digital download era and the audio chapters are based on approximate 30 minute timings (1 side of a cassette tape?), regardless of the actual Homeric verses. So the 24 Chapter starts are only occasionally equal to the beginnings of the 24 Verses of the Odyssey. This may or may not be a distraction for some. It is probably not a major issue if you are following along with a print edition.
One segment, Chapters 9 to 12 in the audiobook, middle of Verse 10 to the end of Verse 12 in Homer, has a significant audio issue. The speed of McKellen's reading drops to a deep bass voice at a seemingly slowed down audiospeed, as if the tape slowed down or McKellen was suffering from a serious cold on the day of the recording. This is enormously distracting when compared to the sound of the voice before and after this segment. Again, this is not a deal breaker but listeners should at least be forewarned of this fault.
The audiobook also excludes Bernard Knox's introduction that is available in the Penguin print edition.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

31 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Terrible Recording

Would you try another book from Homer (translated by Robert Fagles) and/or Ian McKellen?

I am an avid member of Audible because I want books, professional readers and professional recordings…this recording id terrible. A bad listen.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Ian McKellen is incredible!

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

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Audible made my reading assignment easy

I am a college student and not used to this type of literature. when our teacher assigned this reading, I was overwhelmed because the reading seemed hard to understand and lots of work, but when I read the book with audible, it was fun experience and made my reading easy to read and understand; in fact, I ended up enjoying my book and looking forward for more.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Just about perfect!

The translation is wonderful, and the narration absolutely superb. I cannot imagine a better way to approach this 'classic' of classical literature.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

22 people found this helpful