An Odyssey

An Odyssey

A Father, A Son, and An Epic

Book - 2017
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Random House, Inc.
Named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR, Library Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, and Newsday
A Kirkus Best Memoir of 2017
Shortlisted for the 2017 Baillie Gifford Prize

From award-winning memoirist and critic, and bestselling author of The Lost: a deeply moving tale of a father and son's transformative journey in reading--and reliving--Homer's epic masterpiece.


When eighty-one-year-old Jay Mendelsohn decides to enroll in the undergraduate Odyssey seminar his son 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 the great literature he'd neglected in his youth--and, even more, a final opportunity to more fully understand his son, a writer and classicist. But through the sometimes uncomfortable months that 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's famous voyages--it becomes clear that Daniel has much to learn, too: 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. Rich with literary and emotional insight, An Odyssey is a renowned author-scholar's most triumphant entwining yet of personal narrative and literary exploration.

Baker & Taylor
The best-selling author of The Lost presents the story of a father and son's transformative shared journey in reading in the wake of the father's late-in-life enrollment in his son's undergraduate seminar, where the two engaged in debates over how to interpret Homer's classic masterpiece.

Baker
& Taylor

Presents the story of a father and son's transformative shared journey in reading in the wake of the father's late-in-life enrollment in his son's undergraduate seminar, where the two engaged in debates over how to interpret Homer's classic masterpiece.

Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385350594
Branch Call Number: B MENDELSOHN 2017
Characteristics: pages cm
Additional Contributors: Mendelsohn, Jay 1929-2012

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patcarstensen
Dec 26, 2017

He artfully employs many of Homer's literary techniques -- such as ring narratives -- and shows what great teaching is.

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blcwrites
Dec 21, 2017

Profound on so many levels. One of those books (rare these days) when I didn't want it to end and when I couldn't postpone it, felt shaken, inspired, and wanting to read his other books. And then, read this one again. Fathers and sons, kids and parents, the classic of The Odyssey and modern life highlight each other. And if you have read or want to read the Odyssey, this book can be your faithful guide, like Athena.

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