Giving Homer’s Odyssey five stars would seem a foregone conclusion, right? I mean, it’s the second-oldest extant work of Western literature (homeboy Homer also created the first) and it’s pretty much the definition of an epic tale. It gave James Joyce the basis for Ulysses (though there’s much less wanking in this version) and is something about which more people know a little, even if they don’t know its exact provenance. Angry cyclops? Sirens? A decades-long return, hamstrung by gods being utter dickheads? C’mon.
The Iliad: A New Translation by Caroline Alexander by Homer and Caroline Alexander.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.
I know, I know. Only four stars. But it’s a classic! But it’s important! But it’s stuck around a lot longer than you have!
All of these things are true. And it’s really difficult to think of many reasons to not give the thing five stars, because when it comes to widescreen stories, Homeric narration is pretty much in a league of its own.
The Iliad is, for all its importance, still something that would, if written in straight prose today, be interesting, but also strongly in need of an edit.