23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5 star achievement - but 3 star enjoyment,
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This review is from: The Iliad (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
I have just finished this book and I have to admit that for much of the time it was both highly enjoyable in parts but a big mental effort for much of the time. This version of the epic story is I understand less "poetic" in structure than others and indeed it does appear to have a straightforward dramatic narrative structure. I have for some time had an
interest in the classical historic periods of Greece and Rome and I think that this sustained me in getting to the end. The book is at its best when engaging the central cast of the dozen or so well known names. The dialogue and speeches are captivating and resonate in a Shakespearean manner.
The epic and heroic nature of the story and the central characters is well conveyed as is the savage and brutal nature of the hand to hand fighting. However the problem of the booklies with the vast sections (over 150 pages) which depict far too much "A speared B", "C shattered the head of D" etc etc, wherein the blow by blow slaughter of a vast peripheral cast of 100's of unrememberable names is recounted ad nauseum.
This however is magnificently countered by the last third of the book after the re-entry into the conflict firstly of Patroclus and then more importantly of Achilles. The story then soars to its epic conclusion.
I have to admit that this was a book I thought I should read, but although it is clearly a work of considerable achievement and merit, hand on heart I have to question the judgement of those who overstate the enjoyment factor. This is certainly a book I am glad to have read but most likely it will remain on my book shelf as testament to the fact I have done so rather than the likelihood I will ever pick it up again. I suspect that the copies of those less honest will have the same destiny.