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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,383 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Zachary Mason, Julia Spencer-Fleming Narrator: Suzanne Toren, Simon Vance Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2010 ISBN: 9781427210043
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A BRILLIANT AND BEGUILING REIMAGINING OF ONE OF OUR GREATEST MYTHS BY A GIFTED YOUNG WRITER

Zachary Mason's brilliant and beguiling debut novel, The Lost Books of the Odyssey, reimagines Homer's classic story of the hero Odysseus and his long journey home after the fall of Troy. With brilliant prose, terrific imagination, and dazzling literary skill, Mason creates alternative episodes, fragments, and revisions of Homer's original that taken together open up this classic Greek myth to endless reverberating interpretations. The Lost Books of the Odyssey is punctuated with great wit, beauty, and playfulness; it is a daring literary page-turner that marks the emergence of an extraordinary new talent.

Cover and title design by Chin-Yee Lai.

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Quotes & Awards

  • [A] literary adventure in which everything--the hero, the author, even the reader--is up for grabs . . . The epic as kaleidoscope. Kirkus Reviews
  • “Though Simon Vance doesn't play a lute, he is a bard, or maybe the Classics professor everyone wishes to have had, as he spins these revisionist tales of Odysseus and his travels. AudioFile

  • [A] dazzling debut . . . Stunning and hypnotic . . . Mr. Mason . . . has written a series of jazzy, post-modernist variations on the Odyssey, and in doing so he's created an ingeniously Borgesian novel that's witty, playful, moving and tirelessly inventive . . . This is a book that not only addresses the themes of Homer's classic--the dangers of pride, the protean nature of identity, the tryst between fate and free will--but also poses new questions to the reader about art and originality and the nature of storytelling. Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
  • [The Lost Books of the Odyssey] is, to my surprise, a wonderful book. I had expected it to be rather preening, and probably thin. But it is intelligent, absorbing, wonderfully written, and perhaps the most revelatory and brilliant prose encounter with Homer since James Joyce. Simon Goldhill, The Times Literary Supplement
  • A subtle, inventive, and moving meditation on the nature of story and what Louis MacNeice calls ‘the drunkenness of things being various.' John Banville, Booker Prize–winning author of The Sea
  • Spellbinding. In his versions of these ancient myths, Mason twists and jinks, renegotiating the journey to Ithaca with all the guile and trickery of Odysseus himself. Rarely is it so reassuring to be in the hands of such an unreliable narrator. Simon Armitage, author of The Odyssey: A Dramatic Retelling of Homer's Epic
  • A stirring revelation: Zachary Mason's astounding glosses of the Odyssey plunge us into an unforeseeable and hypnotic dimension of fiction. Of the three possible interpretations of the work that he proposes--Homeric stories anciently reproduced by recombining their components, a Theosophist dream of abstract mathematics, and pure illusion (that is, it was all made up by him)--the result is one and the same. This enthralling book is his doing, whether as translator, conjuror, or author. I vote for number three. Harry Mathews, author of My Life in CIA
  • Mason's delightful, inventive collection takes the raw materials of Homer--wily Odysseus, faithful Penelope, wrathful Poseidon--and then recombines, warps and twists elements of his well-worn tale. Philadelphia City Paper
  • Mason's fantastic first novel, a deft reimagining of Homer's Odyssey, begins with the story as we know it before altering the perspective or fate of the characters in subsequent short story–like chapters . . . This original work consistently surprises and delights. Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • These imaginary lost books of The Odyssey enhance Homer's epic tale with alternative scenarios and viewpoints. A finalist this year for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award, Mason employs clear, crisp prose and a clever sense of humor to propel the action briskly . . . A paean to the power of storytelling. Library Journal
  • Though none of these brilliantly conceived revisions fits neatly into Homer's classic poem, each resonates with something of the artistic vigor of the ancient original . . . A daring and successful experiment in fictional technique. Booklist
  • Reading Zachary Mason's forthcoming The Lost Books of the Odyssey, I've been in danger of missing my subway stop . . . Funny, spooky, action-packed, philosophical--the mood keeps shifting, and you keep wanting to read just one more. Barnes and Noble Review

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A 2010 New York Times Book Review Notable Book

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Danny Fahey | 2/15/2014

    " Not a narrative as such but a playful and intelligent retelling of various aspects. In a way this book is more like a musical piece with themes replayed over and over again. I loved it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Colin | 2/7/2014

    " Helpful to have read Odyssey recently before reading this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 2/4/2014

    " At first I didn't understand how it was written because it didn't at all go in order with Homer's Odyssey. Then I realized they were all separate stories. Very interesting and different! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 2/2/2014

    " This story and clever alterations of it are a perfect base for existential exploration. Seems like a big return for a small investment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daved | 2/1/2014

    " Ancient literature meets Oulipo. If you are into Calvino, this is definitely worth checking out. Not entirely consistent, but there are some good gems here. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tasha | 2/1/2014

    " I don't know about this book. It was good in some ways, but I didn't feel any desire to keep reading it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Will Everitt | 1/23/2014

    " If you love ancient myths AND modern fiction, this book is for you. A post-modern take on the Odyssey, with many alternate beginnings, middles, and ends added to the mythology. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Fred Misurella | 1/20/2014

    " This book (which I would not classify as a novel, by the way) is an intellectual exercise with very little heart. Frankly, I don't know what all the fuss is about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer H | 1/8/2014

    " This was really a ton of fun to read! I really enjoyed it. Each story is a great twist on the Odyssey. I would recommend to read a couple stories at a time and enjoy it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janice | 12/31/2013

    " a little uneven, bits i loved and bits eh. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 emily | 11/12/2013

    " One part Homer, one part "Groundhog Day," one of the best books I've read in years. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Charlotte | 7/14/2013

    " A bit of an oddity. Not sure that I get it. I have read and thoroughly enjoyed both the Iliad and Odyssey (to the extent that I have 'Odysseus' in ancient greek tattooed on my wrist) but this book just confused me and has added little to my enjoyment of the original. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristina | 7/1/2013

    " Great to dip in and out of. I'm a sucker for an Odyssey knock-off "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave | 5/1/2013

    " I found the book a little uneven but many of the stories--and yes, this is more a short story collection than a novel--were tremendous. It might help to have a pretty good familiarity with the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the associated tales and myths but I don't think it's necessary. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Craig | 9/3/2012

    " This has to be one of the most unique books I've ever read. A must for lovers of the classics and literature in general. I read this in tandem with "Ransom" by David Malouf and enjoyed them both. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roger | 4/29/2012

    " Superb premise and execution. Something between Einstein's Dreams and 40 Ways to Look at JFK/Winston Churchill. Extremely erudite and creative! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian Pagano | 3/21/2012

    " Great book. Like a master jazz musician riffing on a theme. Didn't try to replace or modernize the Odyssey, but filled in gaps and told alternative versions. I felt like I was sitting in front of fire on a little Greek greek island while a master storyteller wove his tales. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lea | 12/10/2011

    " Is this a mockumentary or a thoughtful collection of short stories and prose poems? Whatever it is, I thoroughly enjoyed this imaginative little gem of a collection without undue guilt at skimming over the few pieces that dragged. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 shannon | 9/21/2011

    " dreamlike and labyrinthine, and simply gorgeous prose. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kevin | 5/16/2011

    " This book has a clever idea behind it, and it does raise interesting questions about narrative and story. Parts of it are also quite intriguing. However, beyond that distant intellectual connection, I didn't really care about reading it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike | 4/21/2011

    " more of a collection of short stories than a novel - enjoybable if you know the Iliad and Odyssey "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daved | 4/19/2011

    " Ancient literature meets Oulipo. If you are into Calvino, this is definitely worth checking out. Not entirely consistent, but there are some good gems here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 JoAnn | 3/19/2011

    " The Lost Books of the Odyssey presents alternative endings and story snippets "omitted" from Homer's Odyssey. Imagine what Cyclops would have to say in his own chapter! A very clever book, and an entertaining read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 E | 3/14/2011

    " It's been ages since I read the Odyssey, but the writing, language, and remix of the traditional stories and characters is fabulous. Such descriptive, well written text.

    I even enjoyed looking up various new vocab words ... "

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About the Author
Author Zachary Mason

Zachary Mason is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Lost Books of the Odyssey. He lives in California.

About the Narrators

Suzanne Toren has recorded hundreds of audiobooks and has earned twenty-nine Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. She has received the Narrator of the Year Award for her audiobook recordings for the Library of Congress. She has performed on Broadway and in regional theaters in works penned by Shakespeare, Molière, and Arthur Miller. She has also appeared on Law & Order and in various soap operas.

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with fifty-eight Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.