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Extended Audio Sample Odysseus: A Life, by Charles Rowan Beye Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (47 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Charles Rowan Beye Narrator: Mark Bramhal Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In this highly unusual and entertaining book, acclaimed classicist Charles Beye imagines a biography of the fictional Bronze Age hero and puts his unique spin on Odysseus’ strange and adventuresome existence. With wit and insight, Beye portrays the character’s life, beginning as a young prince, as warrior and hero of the war with Troy, as wanderer trying to get home, as lover, and finally as king of his home, Ithaca. But Beye does more than just describe Odysseus’ life. He delves into the psychological complexities of this enigmatic individual and examines his motives and character.

Beye’s account reads like a modern novel, filled with fascinating analogies and references to our own era. With a distinct humor and wisdom, the author casts new light on one of the great figures of the Western imagination.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Beye rounds out our picture of this complex and multifaceted man…by his insights into Bronze Age customs, mores, beliefs and values, and by his obvious and infectious enthusiasm for Odysseus, that mortal, deeply human man immortalized by literature.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “A coherent and entertaining arc…encompassiong all of the fictional hero’s military adventures and sexual exploits.”

    Washington Post

  • “Beye portrays Odysseus as humble yet ‘arrogant in his assumption of his own worth,’ cunning, wise, athletic and courageous, gregarious and sensual, concluding that Odysseus provided an exceptional role model to males in the ancient world.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Beye carefully constructs Odysseus as a Bronze Age fellow whose literal belief in gods obliges us to accept them as he did…The resulting portrait is far less a display of cleverness than…a deeper understanding of an old acquaintance…dazzling.”


  • “A true labor of love, reflecting a lifetime of study, this is recommended for all public libraries.”

    Library Journal

  • “Lively, informative, and great fun: the perfect introduction to Odysseus and the society that shaped his exploits.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Revisited in this biography—by turns conversational and eloquent, racy and reflective—the hero emerges in all his traditional vigor, equipped with the myths and mores of antiquity while voyaging into our own modern world.”

    Robert Fagles, professor, Princeton University

  • “Reader Mark Bramhall nails this performance. When there’s storytelling, he commands the story enthrallingly…his transitions are even more remarkable.”


  • “As an audiobook, Odysseus: A Life literally and symbolically conjures the oral tradition of the works that inspired it. It’s a ripping good yarn…A gutsy and entertaining read by first-timer Mark Bramhall. He adroitly navigates the names of the mythical heroes, parses Beye’s fatally digressive prose, and even allows himself to sound so involved in what he’s reading that his excitement becomes contagious.”


Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Childrens | 4/4/2008

    " ok so maybe it was because I was sailing in the greek isles at the time, but I thought this book was really entertaining and droll. I almost had to re-read the odyssey-but I resisted. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by pianogal | 6/14/2006

    " Having read "The Odyssey" so young (4th or 5th grade), I thought maybe I should give it a try again to see what I missed. I just read this book instead, but have to say that I didn't miss anything. I get that Odysseus went on an epic voyage, but it just doesn't interest me. Sorry. "

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About the Author

Charles Rowan Beye is distinguished professor emeritus of classics at the City University of New York and has taught at Boston University, Stanford University, and Yale University. The author of numerous books and articles about the classics, particularly Homer and epic poetry, he divides his time between Cambridge, Massachusetts, and New York City.