Tuesday, May 03, 2016
The Children's Homer
I really enjoyed reading Padraic Colum's The Children's Homer, a retelling--originally published in 1918--of the Iliad and the Odyssey. You should know from the start that it is a prose retelling.
The story opens by introducing readers to Telemachus, the now grown son of Odysseus. When Telemachus was just a baby--just a month old--his father went off to war, to fight in the Trojan War. The war took ten long, agonizing years. But it's been over for just as many--ten long years. Telemachus and his mother, Penelope, need to know: Is Odysseus dead or alive? If he's alive, where is he? Why hasn't he come home yet? They are not the only one curious. Plenty of men want to know too. But. They're hoping that Odysseus is dead and not alive. Why?! They want a chance at Penelope. They've come to "woo" her. That and to eat and drink a lot at the estate's expense. Telemachus wants it to stop. It angers him to see so many men about the place anxiously trying to become Penelope's new husband. So what can he do about it?
For one, he can set out on a quest of his own to see if he can find traces of his father's story. Because Telemachus has at least one or two gods or goddesses on his side, he is somewhat mostly successful. He hears ALL about the Trojan war. Not just about his father, but, about many men--many soldiers. Including Achilles and Hector and Paris. He also learns that his father survived the war and is trying to come back home.
The second half of the book is about Odysseus' journey back home and how he handled or resolved the situation with all those men chasing after his wife. It is mainly if not exclusively from Odysseus' point of view. Readers see a couple of happy reunions along the way.
Plenty of action and adventure happens in both sections as the war and its aftermath is recounted. It is an interesting read. Parts of it felt very familiar to me. Overall, it was just a pleasant, enjoyable read.
© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews