An Odyssey: A Father, A Son and an Epic

by Daniel Mendelsohn

eBooks of the Month The Real World Travel

An Odyssey: A Father, A Son and an Epic Synopsis

When eighty-one-year-old Jay Mendelsohn decides to enrol in the undergraduate seminar on the Odyssey that his son Daniel teaches at Bard College, the two find themselves on an adventure as profoundly emotional as it is intellectual. For Jay, a retired research scientist who sees the world through a mathematician's unforgiving eyes, this return to the classroom is his `one last chance' to learn about the great literature he'd neglected in his youth - and, even more, a final opportunity to understand his son. But through the sometimes-uncomfortable months that follow, as the two men explore Homer's great work together - first in the classroom, where Jay persistently challenges his son's interpretations, and then during a surprise-filled Mediterranean journey retracing Odysseus' legendary voyages - it becomes clear that Daniel has much to learn, too: for Jay's responses to both the text and the travels gradually uncover long-buried secrets that allow the son to understand his difficult father at last. As this intricately woven memoir builds to its wrenching climax, Mendelsohn's narrative comes to echo The Odyssey itself, with its timeless themes of deception and recognition, marriage and children, the pleasures of travel and the meaning of home.

An Odyssey: A Father, A Son and an Epic Press Reviews

`Sharply intelligent ... A frequent contributor to the New Yorker and the New York Times Book Review, Mendelsohn is also a classics scholar. His father, a retired mathematician, had been interested in the classics during his school days and decided to continue his education by studying with his son ...Ultimately, this book [is] about what they learn about each other - and what they can never know about each other. The author uses a close reading of the epic to illuminate the mysteries of the human condition; he skillfully, subtly interweaves textual analysis [with] the lessons of life outside it ... A well-told story that underscores the power of storytelling Kirkus

`When Daniel Mendelsohn's mathematician father lands in his son's Homer seminar at Bard, the older man sets in motion an odyssey both hilarious and heartfelt. Father and son start in the pages of an epic, then follow the hero's path through the Mediterranean, and finally end where all our stories do. An Odyssey melds genius-level lit crit with gut-level moving memoir. Beautiful and wise - destined to be the memoir hit of the year' Mary Karr, author of The Liars Club

`My favourite classicist once again combines meticulous literary investigation with warm and wrenching human emotion - books like these are why I love reading'  Lee Child

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780007545124
Publication date: 07/09/2017
Publisher:
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780007545124
Publication date: 7th September 2017
Author: Daniel Mendelsohn
Publisher:
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 304 pages
Genres: eBook Favourites, The Real World, Travel,
Categories: Travel writing, Literary studies: poetry & poets, Literary studies: classical, early & medieval,

About Daniel Mendelsohn

Daniel Mendelsohn was born on Long Island in 1960 and educated at the University of Virginia and at Princeton. His reviews and essays on literary and cultural subjects appear frequently in The New Yorker. His many books include the international best-seller 'The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million'.

More About Daniel Mendelsohn

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