267. The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds

The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 251
Ages: 13+
Finished: Nov. 27, 2010
First Published: Oct. 12, 2010
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: Graphic novel, YA, Greek Myth
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

Sing to me, O Muse, of that man of many troubles, Odysseus, skilled in all ways of contending, who wandered far after he helped sack the great city of Troy.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Candlewick Press.

Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.

A stunning, scholarly reinterpretation of Homer's Odyssey. Hinds has used as background material his favourite translations, then putting them aside used more prosaic translations to help him reinterpret Homer into the graphic novel format where text needs to be more sparse to meet with illustration in telling the story. I have read many, many retellings of Homer in story format. I love the epic tale of Odysseus though I have no interest in reading translations of the original verse. I'm not a fan of poetry but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the glory of the epic tale being told. Hinds has done a sensational job of retelling in everyday, understandable prose and using his striking watercolour paintings to present a flawless edition of Homer's Odyssey.

As far as my memory can serve me every single plot point has been included in Hind's version, nothing has been cut to keep to a certain number of pages and in fact we are presented with an oversized, heavy book of significant pages. Hinds tells his tale basically through conversation and illustration. The book starts with a tiny bit of poetic narrative and then moves straight on to conversation, the only time narrative is used is through Odysseus' own voice as he recounts brief parts of his journey through this method. Illustration is used to great lengths to also tell the story so that the text is not left to carry the plot. There are plenty of wordless sections as the illustrations alone move the tale along. The illustrations are also used specifically to show the sensuous and the violent elements of the epic tale, going places that have no need for words.

The art is stunning; the text is readable high quality prose. This edition makes Homer accessible to anyone, of all ages, 13 and older, while remaining a scholarly presentation. A must addition to any Homer or Greek mythology enthusiast's collection.


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