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review 2019-11-15 15:17
Book #884 - 355,459 Pages Read
Vortex - Troy Denning

The Fate Of The Jedi saga continues with this novel as Luke and Ben actually work alongside the Sith to hunt down Abeloth. This one also starts to move the overall plot of this particular saga along more so than the previous entries. The Jedi Council starts to break up their stalemate (thankfully), and more light is shed on the mentally disturbed Jedi that have haunted Han and Leia and the Council since book one. Hopefully the next one will further provide answers to the issues being faced by the main characters.

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review 2019-09-30 13:27
Beware Of Greeks Bearing Gifts.



The Siege of Troy: A novel

Theodor Kallifatides

Translated from the Swedish edition by Marlaine Delargy

Paperback: 208 pages

Publisher: Other Press (September 10, 2019)  

ISBN-10: 159051971X

ISBN-13: 978-1590519714

https://www.amazon.com/Siege-Troy-Novel-Theodor-Kallifatides/dp/159051971X           

 

Reviewed by Dr. Wesley Britton

               

It's been decades since I read Homer's The Iliad,  so my memory of it is extremely dim. I remember many of the stories, the abduction of Helen, the famous Greek warriors who besieged the city of Troy for 10 years, the use of poetic devices like the opening "Invocation to the Muse," the long descriptions of soldier's armor, etc.

 

Now, Swedish author Theodor Kallifatides has re-imagined the Iliad for modern readers and I suspect most non-scholars of Greek literature are going to prefer the new version. For one matter, all the poetic devices are stripped away and replaced by a much simpler prose narrative. For another, Kallifatides created a framework for his retelling that has a Greek schoolteacher recounting the story of The Iliad day-by-day to one of her classes during World War II when airstrikes repeatedly forced the class to run to nearby caves for protection.

The 1940s set part of the novel includes an ongoing love triangle as well as interactions between the German occupiers and local citizens. I'll confess, I was drawn into this story as much as the retelling of events in ancient Troy. It's a fresh approach even if the two storylines don't really parallel each other.

 

In regards to the old, old stories, I had forgotten just how bloody the war was. I was often surprised by the number of combatants. That many warriors, on both sides, dying in droves and droves? Seems historically doubtful, but I could be wrong.

 

I had also forgotten just how Achilles was a stubborn, selfish, and petulant figure. I didn't know his death by way of an arrow in his heel is not a story in the Iliad and thus not in The Siege of Troy either. The same is true of the Trojan Horse episode which wasn't told until Virgil's Aeneid. I didn't know that either until I did some homework to see why things in Homer's poem weren't in the Kallifatides reworking. Well, Kallifatides turns out to be a very faithful adapter of the ancient stories although he left many things out, mostly descriptions of the various armies and the quarrels between the gods which appear much less frequently in The Siege of Troy.

Author Theodor Kallifatides is actually Greek but immigrated to Sweden where his works are first published in Swedish. The Siege of Troy is his second work Translated by Marlaine Delargy, the first being the 2018 Another  Life. Sounds like a book I would like to explore as The Siege of Troy was one of my favorite readings of 2019. Hopefully, for you too.

 

 

This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Sept. 25, 2019:

 

 

tor

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review 2019-07-05 17:31
Good Great Courses
Aeneid of Virgil (The Great Courses) - Elizabeth Vandiver

Dr. Vandiver's series of lectures on the Aeneid is wonderful. She not only gets you to want to reread it, but her love and passion for the subject matter are great.  She looks at the historical context as well the literary devices that are used.  She is wonderful.  

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-03-10 07:24
Celebrating 2400 Years of Fanfic -- The Trojan Epic: Posthomerica

It has always irritated me that the narrative of the final days of Troy wasn't actually in the Iliad or the Odyssey. I was a mass-market-mythology lover who didn't want to take that extra step of taking classics courses or learning Greek or Latin. Due to the loss of several Trojan Cycle manuscripts (the Little Iliad, Aithiopis, etc.), audiences never got to see Helen and Menelaos reconcile. The death of Achilles? The death of Paris? The wooden horse? Nope. And champions like Memnon, Penthesilea, and Neoptolemos were relegated to a couple of paragraphs here and there in English-language collections of the myths. (Hat tip to Robert Graves' "The Greek Myths," Gustav Schwab's "Gods and Heroes," and David Kravitz's "Who's Who In Greek and Roman Mythology," which were all excellent starting points and found in superstores during my early adulthood.)

Wait no more. Quintus of Smyrna, who lived several centuries later than Homer and his contemporaries, put together an epic poem based on who-knows-what manuscripts that have not survived. Alan James and the Johns Hopkins University Press have published a sweet volume with the text of the epic, and a lengthy commentary section that proves quite useful. Quintus has a habit of using epithets of characters rather than their given names, so if you aren't sure which goddess "Tritogenia" is, it's possible to refer to the commentary as if it were endnotes and figure out the majority of references. (Tritogenia, "thrice-born," is Athena.)

So what do we get as the content of the epic? A battle-axe-wielding Amazon. An Ethiopian demigod born of the rosy Dawn. The madness of Great Ajax. Heracles' son killing scores of Greeks (including their doctor!) before facing Achilles' son who has come to avenge his father. Philoctetes, Heracles' ally, wounding Paris with an arrow dipped in the blood of the Hydra, and Paris's attempt to reconcile with his former lover Oenone before the poison works. The horse gambit (complete with a bizarre appearance by two sea serpents that roam right into town to eat Laocoon's kids… really, they couldn't have done that on the beach?). Lastly, it's got the sack of Troy and Aeneas's escape before one final word from Athena to Lesser Ajax, communicated via thunderbolt.

So for content, this volume delivers. The only story I can think of from this period of the war that the Posthomerica doesn't have in detail is the theft of the Palladium. Obviously, that's no fault of the translator. As for whether the poetics carry the same heft as Homer… probably not. There's only fourteen books, not twenty-four, and one can feel the difference. Deaths are more sudden; stories of heroic angst less rich in detail. Deiphobos claiming Helen just before the fall of the city is barely a footnote. But in keeping with the spirit of the subject matter, I suggest the mythology buffs fall upon this book as wolves fall upon the sheep-fold, their jaws drawing blood while the shepherd, tired from day-long toil, sleeps in his bed, unaware of the violent work that…

...uh, sorry. Got carried away. But if you don't mind a lot of extended similes like that, the Posthomerica is the volume for you.

Source: www.amazon.com/Trojan-Epic-Posthomerica-Translations-Antiquity-ebook/dp/B004ZYASMC/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=alan+james+posthomerica&qid=1552201952&s=books&sr=1-1-catcorr
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review 2019-02-27 18:58
Audiobook Review: Across the Horizon by: Aly Martinez (Author), Emma Wilder (Narrator), Troy Duran (Narrator)
Across the Horizon - Aly Martinez,Emma Wilder,Troy Duran

 

 

My favorite stories are the identifiers. Stories that carry a sense of truth that is relatable and raw. Characters that inspire by example and authors who are not afraid to expose their heart even at the worst moments. Across the Horizon is a compilation of fate, love and heartbreak. Martinez peers into an aching heart and a second chance at a surprising time. Emotion leaps off the page and pulls at your heart. Rita and Tanner are a match made in heartache, but healed by love.

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