The Odyssey retold by Robin Lister
This timeless epic is beautifully retold by Robin Lister. The story is partly written through the narrator’s voice and partly through the earnest voice of Odysseus.
I read this book initially when I was about 9 years old. Remembering how much I had enjoyed it first time round, I was keen to re-read it. Secretly, I was also hoping to glean some mythical inspiration for the story I am currently working on.
Odysseus, ‘unluckiest of men’, has been striving to return to his homeland of Ithaca for many years, ever since the Trojan War. He comes tantalizingly close to Ithancan shores on numerous occasions, but time and again he is pulled away to face hideous battles.
Readers meet a rich host of characters such as the blundering, one-eyed Cyclops; Circe, initially so fickle but later a benevolent guide; and the good and faithful Athene.
Reading it second time round, I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated by the jealous gods that dictate Odysseus’ fate. It seems he can do little to avoid the trials ordained for him – his survival is ‘in the lap of the gods’.
Fortunately, my frustration subsided when I reached the victorious ending. Odysseus’ virtue is finally rewarded – satisfying triumph over adversity.
The Odyssey is a whirlwind of gripping adventure which will entertain any young reader who seeks exciting escapades. Along the way, readers will also pave a good foundation if they ever read Homer’s poem in later years.
Themes: adventure, myth, fantasy, classical literature.