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Review: The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Odyssey
4 Stars

Gareth Hinds undertakes the task of adapting The Odyssey, the tale of Odysseus's long journey home after the Trojan War, into graphic novel format.

I wish this had been around when I was wading through The Odyssey in high school (and maybe college? I can't remember). I don't know what translation we read, but we needed a translation of it. I think most of us had only vague ideas about what was going on, and we probably only figured those out after the teacher spoon-fed them to us.

The Odyssey is perfect for this format. It's a very visual story, with the sirens and Scylla and Charybdis, a journey to the underworld, the cyclops, and Circe's spell. I did like the illustrations, although they veered a little too close to the bulging muscles and gravity-defying breasts that most people think of when they hear the word, comic. Still, it's a manly tale, so they fit.

I was a little surprised by the translation. I expected the writing to be very modern, but it's not. It's still very readable but formal at the same time. From page 4, Zeus speaking to Athena:

"My child, what strange remarks you let escape your lips. Could I forget that wily hero Odysseus? You know I bear him no grudge--but Poseidon does, hates him for blinding his son Polyphemus the Cyclops.
But come now, let us take up the matter of Odysseus's return. Poseidon must relent; he cannot thwart the will of all the other gods."

I had forgotten much of what happens in the story, so it felt a lot like I was coming to this for the first time. I enjoyed it more in this format than I ever have before.

This is a fabulous (re-)introduction to this timeless classic. Teachers, take note and have some mercy on your classes. This could at least be a companion to the "regular" novel.

Read an excerpt.

I added this to my list after reading Danielle's review at There's a Book.

Find author/illustrator Gareth Hinds on his website, his blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Buy The Odyssey at

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this one too, and am glad that I read the graphic book. I don't think I'll ever get to the original, so it was nice to read a condensed version that wasn't hard to digest.

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