Tuesday, July 22, 2008

the odyssey

On days that I don't work at the shop, Jon calls home just before he leaves to let me know when to expect him. The other night the message on the answering machine was, "This is Odysseus. I've finished slaying people, so I'll be coming home now." So, the thing about The Odyssey is there's lots of killing. Slaying with swords, bow and arrows, sharpened branch. All your early weapons. Then, throw in the wrath of Poseidon. Man!

There's also lots of slaughtering of animals, offerings to gods and mixing of wine. Plus affairs, trickery and gods meddling in the lives of humans. News traveled slowly and one could never know if the news was real. (Unlike today when the news is instantaneous and, well, if it's on the interweb it must be true. Right? I digress...)

Mostly The Odyssey is a quest by one man to reach home after many years held captive. By a beautiful nymph, I should add. And his son's quest to find out if he's still alive. And his wife Penelope's quest to hold off the suiters who are eating and drinking all the food and wine in the house she shared with Odysseus.

It's a fascinating read. I loved the descriptions and sense of place and time. (Have a map handy while you read it.) Now I'm set to read something just a little more modern. Maybe something written after the invention of the printing press.

Follow-up: in the time it took for me to begin this post and to edit it for you, I've begun another book. In a little section I read today, the author refers to the patience of Penelope as she awaits the return of her husband... Ulysses. I know! And she's a journalist! Now, the reason I began reading The Odyssey was: I heard a story on NPR in which they were discussing how to appreciate James Joyce's Ulysses, one should read The Odyssey. So, I imagine the author was making that same connection. And it reminded me that I should finish editing this post. I'm still not ready for Ulysses. But if it keeps raining...

Thanks for reading.


Alaska's Dirt said...

sounds pretty modern to me!

bikegirl said...

yes, the themes are timeless, aren't they?