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The Odyssey

Narrated by: Claire Danes
Length: 13 hrs and 32 mins
5 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

Non-member price: $62.63

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Publisher's Summary

A lean, fleet-footed translation that recaptures Homer’s “nimble gallop” and brings an ancient epic to new life.

The first great adventure story in the Western canon, The Odyssey is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war; about wealth, poverty, and power; about marriage and family; about travelers, hospitality, and the yearning for home. 

In this fresh, authoritative version - the first English translation of The Odyssey by a woman - this stirring tale of shipwrecks, monsters, and magic comes alive in an entirely new way. Written in iambic pentameter verse and a vivid, contemporary idiom, this engrossing translation matches the number of lines in the Greek original, thus striding at Homer’s sprightly pace and singing with a voice that echoes Homer’s music. 

Wilson’s Odyssey captures the beauty and enchantment of this ancient poem as well as the suspense and drama of its narrative. Its characters are unforgettable, from the cunning goddess Athena, whose interventions guide and protect the hero, to the awkward teenage son, Telemachus, who struggles to achieve adulthood and find his father; from the cautious, clever, and miserable Penelope, who somehow keeps clamoring suitors at bay during her husband’s long absence, to the “complicated” hero himself, a man of many disguises, many tricks, and many moods, who emerges in this translation as a more fully rounded human being than ever before. 

A fascinating introduction provides an informative overview of the Bronze Age milieu that produced the epic, the major themes of the poem, the controversies about its origins, and the unparalleled scope of its impact and influence. Maps drawn especially for this volume, a pronunciation glossary, and extensive notes and summaries of each book make this an Odyssey that will be treasured by a new generation of scholars, students, and general listeners alike. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2018 Emily Wilson (translation), Adrian Kitzinger (maps copyright) (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Love

Love it. Clare Dane's voice is elegance and emotion, she portrays the drama beautifully. I feel the story and the words through her.

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Sublime.

This was an incredible translation perfectly performed by Claire Danes. I can’t wait to listen to it all over again

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wow

so great. it was really good and I think I just want to do it again.

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  • Tad Davis
  • 28-01-2019

Unsatisfying

This is a wonderful translation of The Odyssey, crackling with energy. I'm less taken with Claire Danes as the narrator, though. I like her as an actress, and in moments of high tension here, her voice quavers with emotion; but at times her reading emphasizes rhythm over passion. The rhythm is important: Emily Wilson’s decision to adhere to a steady five-beat line is one of the strengths of her translation. But in performance, it can result in occasional sing-song, and to my ears Claire Danes falls into this trap more often than I would like.

I'm struggling a bit to find the right way to describe what I find unsatisfying about her performance. One of my favorite Homeric audiobooks (performed by Anthony Heald) sounds like a story recited around a campfire. And maybe that’s the difference. The best performances of Homer sound like a recitation; Danes sounds like she’s reading a story written by somebody else. Of course that's what she IS doing, like all the other narrators of Homer; but not all of them sound like it.

She does grasp the punch and rapidity of the language, though. This is one of the most accessible and fast-paced performances of The Odyssey available. Wilson disciplined her language to match Homer’s line count, and the 24 books of the poem race by, for the most part, in 20-25 minutes each. And this is without undue hurry on Danes's part: her reading gives room for each word in each line to be heard distinctly. The approach of the translation means that the language is more compressed than in some versions; but there are epithets and wine-dark seas enough to satisfy those who want the occasional flavor of a more literal approach.

For every odd word choice made by Wilson - Odysseus is described straight off as a “complicated” man - there are a dozen choices that illuminate and clarify. Wilson makes clear that the “servants” that populate the poem are really “slaves”; and she also makes clear that while some of the slave girls willingly sleep with the suitors, what is really going on most of the time is rape. This makes the fate of the dozen slave girls hanged by Telemachus even more poignant.

It's definitely worth a listen, but it's not going to become my go-to audio version of The Odyssey.

84 of 90 people found this review helpful

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  • Christina H.
  • 14-02-2019

Don’t love the narration or the translation

I liked the clip, but once I started listening to the whole thing, I found the translation to be very repetitive. I also found the reading to be too stiff. I know it’s a “classic,” but it was a very dry reading. And such an exciting, action-packed story!

40 of 43 people found this review helpful

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  • D. Terry
  • 21-12-2018

Narrator's Readings of Dialogue Overdone

Emily Wilson's superb translation presents The Odyssey in natural language. Claire Danes, the narrator, almost always presented dialogues in an exaggerated, unnatural way -- her characters often sound a bit manic when they speak. Her presentation of dialogue undermines the naturalness of the language in Wilson's translation.

37 of 40 people found this review helpful

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  • Matt Boyle
  • 07-01-2019

Don't get swept up in the fancy revision.

Fagle's "Odyssey" was great, not my favorite...Butler's was fantastic. Came upon this and was pretty excited to give it a try as well. Undoubtedly not my cup of tea. Others may like it (which is fine) but please be warned that the narration is just so robotic and dry. Nothing against Claire Danes, but...it just doesn't work. Not only was the tone off-putting, but the translation was a bit too modern (which may sound strange to some). I've never found the Odyssey read so...inaccurately. It just felt really off. I'm a sucker for fancy book covers and art designs - so I enthusiastically (and foolishly) jumped headfirst into this as well. Also - is it necessary for 3 hours of "forewords and authors notes and translators notes, etc" before the actual story itself?

50 of 55 people found this review helpful

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  • Reviewer in Stoneham
  • 27-01-2019

Wow, I love it.

I’ve wanted to re-read this since high school 30 years ago. Wow — am I glad I chose this. I bought the Audible AND the book to follow along. It’s amazing.

The narrator’s voice is interesting and compelling; she clearly enjoyed this project. She is easy to listen to and very talented.

Listen to the sample and watch the video then decide.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • thriftyVAshopper
  • 04-02-2019

Interesting translation

translation at times was comical to imagine ancient Greeks using modern slang, it did however tell the story.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Corey A Hall
  • 21-11-2018

Phenomenal

I love this translation—I’ve read it several times.

Listening the Claire Danes narrate this, though, is bliss. She conveys so much emotion in her voice and makes the story come alive.

47 of 55 people found this review helpful

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  • A. Ketbi
  • 02-12-2018

Highly recommended

I Didn’t hesitate to get this audiobook, after hearing the Handmaid’s Tale when it first came out. I wish Claire Danes would narrate every book ! I have been wanting to read this book for a long time and when I heard Madeline Miller (who wrote Circe, a book I also thoroughly enjoyed this year) praise Emily Wilson for her translation of the book, I jumped at the opportunity.

27 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • K. Leach
  • 14-12-2018

Slow start!

The introduction is over an hour...this almost got me to the point of quitting and returning the purchase. Fortunately, I slogged through it. Ms Danes has a pleasant voice, but there was no differentiation between the character voices (male or female) so at times it was challenging to be aware of what characters had lines of dialogue.

All that noted it was well worth my time to listen.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • 匿名
  • 08-02-2019

worst narration ever, it really kills the epic

I cannot wait for a proper narrator to read this brilliant translation. This version is horrible, like a cast member of Friends readings Homer.

20 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • IM1
  • 28-11-2018

Line by Line Translation of Homer's Odyssey

The complete line by line translation in modern day spoken english of Homer's Odyssey is very relatable and just mesmerising. I can never get tired of Greek Mythology so maybe I am biased. Claire Danes was phenomenal. She did not try to over dramatise the scenes, nor her voice was robotic. Her narration had just the right amalgamation of emotions, intensity and pace.
Loved it.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas Lückhof
  • 17-12-2018

Beautiful translation and a vivid narration

A beautiful translation of the ancient text combined with a narration that is nuanced and lively make this a great way to enjoy the poem.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • RONAN O'CALLAGHAN
  • 24-04-2019

Don’t think twice. Nothing else is like The Odyssey.

Having read the Richmond Lattimore translation a couple of times - first for study and years later for pure pleasure, I had hoped in vain for an audiobook of that. The Audible version of his Iliad translation is stunning to listen to.
So I was intrigued when this popped up as a suggestion and I read some reviews.
If you have not read The Odyssey already you should probably skip Emily Wilson’s introduction at first. But do come back to it when you can appreciate it - it considers the work from many angles but always in a relatable, engaging style and I agree with the reviewer who said the price is worth it for the introduction alone.
She aims for very plain language generally and for the most part it works very well. I love the fact that it is line for line. Her reluctance to reproduce the repetitive formulaic phrases such as ‘rosy fingered dawn’ etc is something she justifies in advance but I actually missed the charm of the repetitions and found her attempts at variation sometimes strained.
However, a great deal of power which can only originate in the narrative method of the original surges through her plain speaking unstoppably, wringing out almost every emotion imaginable before the shocking (to us) bloodbath of its climax.
Yes, there are some strange and alien ways of thinking in Homer’s world but far more striking and moving to me is how much we still share with the listeners of his time in our passions, fears, yearnings and consolations. And how much of the art of storytelling had already been mastered three thousand years ago.

Claire Danes performs it like she’s living it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-01-2019

Impeccable

Really stupendous. Could not have enjoyed it more.
Well done all involved especially Emily and Clare.
Thanks
Richard Goodwin

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • colin watkins
  • 14-01-2019

Good story. Well read


enjoyable listen book well read challenging to remember all characters and locations though. worth a second listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Vashik Armenikus
  • 28-12-2018

First two hours are introduction to odyssey.

Intro could be much shorter , it felt as if author wants to tell her entire autobiography instead. But the translation is excellent, and it’s the best for an audio version

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ana Kinsella
  • 13-06-2019

Amazing

Banging performance by Claire Danes I have to say. Highly recommend. I learned a lot.

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  • Thomas Brown
  • 07-01-2019

The narrator conveys emotion very well

I've come to Homer's Odyssey after first listening to Stephen Fry's Mythos and Heroes audiobooks. The continuation of greek mythology through the tragedies of Odysseus is the perfect sequel. I was not expecting 2+ hours worth of foreword though which did get a little tiresome to begin with. I understood why this foreword was needed but it dragged on a bit in my eyes, even listening at 1.25x to 1.5x. Nevertheless, the narrator conveys emotion very well and that helps make this classic poem memorable.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-04-2019

Distorted and low quality sound

low quality and distorted audio to the point of being distracting. Not expected from a company like amazon.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-01-2019

The introduction killed this.

After 2 hours of the introduction I gave up. Very Dull and not what I had expected.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful