Prior to this whole quarantine thing, I listened to audiobooks almost exclusively in the car. Which became a problem in that I no longer spend an hour a day in my car. Which is great for my gas budget, but not so great for listening to audiobooks. So I decided to buckle down and try and fit in audiobook listening whenever I can during the day. And, as of my writing this, I’ve listened to four and a half audiobooks so far this month. And one of my favorites was:
The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson
Narrated by Claire Danes
13 hours and 32 minutes
Yes, I know this probably doesn’t sound like the most appealing audiobook right now. Classic literature? Not that easy to get through. BUT, let me make my case. First of all, Claire Danes is a fantastic narrator (I have also listened to her narration of The Handmaid’s Tale, which was fantastic). Second, Emily Wilson’s new translation makes this two-thousand-year-old poem a lot more accessible. It didn’t feel stuffy or confusing – and I’ve read my fair share of classic literature in multiple translations and will stand by the fact that a translation can make or break the experience for the reader. And, last, but definitely not least: The Odyssey was never meant to be read. It was meant to be heard. Which is why I knew I absolutely had to go with the audiobook on this one.
Why This is the Perfect Way to Read The Odyssey
I have, on multiple occasions, attempted to read The Odyssey. And it’s not that I didn’t like it, it’s just that I wasn’t really engaged with it. It was dry. And long. And meh. Even though I knew I was interested in the story (I love anything to do with mythology), I just couldn’t get into it. Until now. I’m sure Emily Wilson’s translation is great written, if that’s your thing, but the audiobook really is the perfect way to absorb this story. Especially since that’s the way it was meant to be experienced. And, while I was a little ashamed to have never read this until now, I am glad I waited because my first real experience with The Odyssey was not only with Wilson’s brilliant translation, but also listening to the story like it was supposed to be.
I loved listening to this so much! I really enjoyed Emily Wilson’s introduction, which I wasn’t expecting to. And I just think all the pieces that went into this – the narration, the translation, the story – worked so well together. Would definitely recommend! Even if you have read The Odyssey, I think this is still a worthwhile experience.
If you have a favorite audiobook, share it in the comments – I’m always looking for good audiobook recommendations.
In case you missed it: check out my March Audiobook of the Month! And, if you need ideas for what to do while you’re listening, click here for Self-Care You Can Do While Listening to Audiobooks.