The Lost Books of the Odyssey

Zachary Mason

Book cover

This was a really fun book recommended to me by a friend. The concept of the book is based on the fact that Odysseus is a character that grew out of an oral tradition and, presumably, there were many and varied stories about him, not just the ones that found their way into the “canonical” Odyssey of Homer. Following this idea, the book presents a couple dozen very short stories somehow related to the character of Odysseus; maybe they are best described as “vignettes.” The author’s style is quite distinctive; something like Borges or Calvino (I think, I have never read the latter). Quite a few of the stories have some sort of reference to the concept of “eternal return,” which seems appropriate for the subject matter. Many of them are told from the points of view of minor characters, such as Polyphemos, or reference anachronistic mythology, such as the Golem. The book gives a great deal of vibrancy to the “Odysseus multiverse”; if you’re like me, you might come away wanting to write some of your own!

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars