|Punctuated with great wit, beauty, and playfulness, Mason''s brilliant and beguiling debut novel reimagines Homer''s classic story of the hero Odysseus and his long journey home after the fall of Troy, opening up this classic Greek myth to endless reverberating interpretations.|
|From the Publisher:
A New York Times Bestseller|A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
Zachary Mason’s brilliant and beguiling debut novel reimagines Homer’s classic story of the hero Odysseus and his long journey home after the fall of Troy. With hypnotic 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.
Following in the footsteps of Borges and Calvino, Zachary Mason has created an ingenious literary postulation. Posing as an Oxford professor of "Archaeocryptography and Paleomathematics" he claims to introduce a newly discovered and deciphered text of Homer's ODYSSEY that offers up a new plots, new speeches, and new possibilities for the ancient text. In one "new" narrative, Ulysses returns home to discover that Penelope has not waited for him and has remarried, in another he never leaves in the first place, and in yet another the Trojan War never ends, but merely wages on and on. Selected by the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 2010.
"This original work consistently surprises and delights....Mason's fantastic first novel...begins with [THE ODYSSEY]...as we know it before altering the perspective or fate of the characters in subsequent short story-like chapters." (starred review)
"[A] dazzling debut novel....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 vignettes are ingenious expressions of the protean nature of the legend, offering topsy-turvy, inside-out versions of the events and characters that appear in Homer's epics, while, at the same time preserving the feeling of a lost, ancient world. Though a melancholy sense of being adrift pervades most of the tales, they are still jubilant in execution....[T]hese variations remind me somewhat of the sections in Flann O'Brien's AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS that concern mad King Sweeney and Finn MacCool. Higher praise than that is not at my disposal."
- Katherine A. Powers
"[C]lever, compelling and often poignant....Not every story resonates, but the best make you rethink THE ODYSSEY's place in culture as a whole. It becomes not just a foundation-text of Western literature, but something both more and less....After reading these variously gloomy, joyous or melancholy extensions of the oral tradition, your own sight is broadened; you'll return to the classics with fresh eyes, wondering what other sagas, who else's stories, they leave out."
- Jesse Berrett
"[Mason's] approach embraces all of Greek mythology, and the nuance and ingenuity of his riffs and remixes confirm his command of the material....Even when he falters...Mason's imagination soars and his language delights. He is a writer much like his protagonist: prone to crash landings, but resourceful and eloquent enough to find his way home."
- Adam Mansbach