An Odyssey by Daniel Mendelsohn
A Father, a Son, and an Epic

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review

Revelations for Mendelsohn provide epiphanies for readers as well. A well-told story that underscores the power of storytelling.


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.

About Daniel Mendelsohn

See more books from this Author
Daniel Mendelsohn's reviews and essays on literary and cultural subjects appear frequently in The New York Review of Books andThe New Yorker. His books include a memoir, The Elusive Embrace, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year; the international best seller The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million; an acclaimed translation of the works of C. P. Cavafy; and a previous collection of essays, How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken. He teaches at Bard College.
Published September 12, 2017 by Knopf. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for An Odyssey
All: 1 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 0


on Jul 03 2017

Revelations for Mendelsohn provide epiphanies for readers as well. A well-told story that underscores the power of storytelling.

Read Full Review of An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, ... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Rate this book!

Add Review