The Lost Books of the Odyssey

A Novel

Zachary Mason, read by Simon Vance

Macmillan Audio

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A BRILLIANT AND BEGUILING REIMAGINING OF ONE OF OUR GREATEST MYTHS BY A GIFTED YOUNG WRITER

Zachary Mason’s brilliant and beguiling debut novel, The Lost Books of the Odyssey, reimagines Homer’s classic story of the hero Odysseus and his long journey home after the fall of Troy. With brilliant prose, terrific imagination, and dazzling literary skill, Mason creates alternative episodes, fragments, and revisions of Homer’s original that taken together open up this classic Greek myth to endless reverberating interpretations. The Lost Books of the Odyssey is punctuated with great wit, beauty, and playfulness; it is a daring literary page-turner that marks the emergence of an extraordinary new talent.
 
Cover and title design by Chin-Yee Lai.

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A SAD REVELATION

Odysseus comes back to Ithaca in a little boat on a clear day. The familiarity of the east face of the island seems absurd—bemused, he runs a tricky rip current he has not thought about in fifteen years and lands by the mouth of a creek where he swam as a boy. All his impatience leaves him and he sits under an oak he remembers whose branches overhang the water, good for diving. Twenty years have gone by, he reflects, what are a few more minutes. An hour passes in silence and it occurs to him that he is tired and might as well go home, so he picks up his sword

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The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason--Audiobook Excerpt

Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Zachary Mason's novel The Lost Books of the Odyssey. This brilliant and beguiling debut novel reimagines Homer's classic story of the hero Odysseus and his long journey home after the fall of Troy. With brilliant prose, terrific imagination, and dazzling literary skill, Mason creates alternative episodes, fragments, and revisions of Homer's original that taken together open up this classic Greek myth to endless reverberating interpretations.

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Reviews

Praise for The Lost Books of the Odyssey

"Though Simon Vance doesn't play a lute, he is a bard, or maybe the Classics professor everyone wishes to have had, as he spins these revisionist tales of Odysseus and his travels." - AudioFile
 
Praise for The Lost Books of the Odyssey book:
 
“[A] dazzling debut . . . Stunning and hypnotic . . . Mr. Mason . . . has written a series of jazzy, post-modernist variations on the Odyssey, and in doing so he’s created an ingeniously Borgesian novel that’s witty, playful, moving and tirelessly inventive . . . This is a book that not only addresses the themes of Homer’s classic—the dangers of pride, the protean nature of identity, the tryst between fate and free will—but also poses new questions to the reader about art and originality and the nature of storytelling.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

 

“[The Lost Books of the Odyssey] is, to my surprise, a wonderful book. I had expected it to be rather preening, and probably thin. But it is intelligent, absorbing, wonderfully written, and perhaps the most revelatory and brilliant prose encounter with Homer since James Joyce.” —Simon Goldhill, The Times Literary Supplement

 

“A subtle, inventive, and moving meditation on the nature of story and what Louis MacNeice calls ‘the drunkenness of things being various.’ ” —John Banville, Booker Prize–winning author of The Sea

 

“Spellbinding. In his versions of these ancient myths, Mason twists and jinks, renegotiating the journey to Ithaca with all the guile and trickery of Odysseus himself. Rarely is it so reassuring to be in the hands of such an unreliable narrator.” —Simon Armitage, author of The Odyssey: A Dramatic Retelling of Homer’s Epic

 

“A stirring revelation: Zachary Mason’s astounding glosses of the Odyssey plunge us into an unforeseeable and hypnotic dimension of fiction. Of the three possible interpretations of the work that he proposes—Homeric stories anciently reproduced by recombining their components, a Theosophist dream of abstract mathematics, and pure illusion (that is, it was all made up by him)—the result is one and the same. This enthralling book is his doing, whether as translator, conjuror, or author. I vote for number three.” —Harry Mathews, author of My Life in CIA

 

“Mason’s delightful, inventive collection takes the raw materials of Homer—wily Odysseus, faithful Penelope, wrathful Poseidon—and then recombines, warps and twists elements of his well-worn tale.” —Philadelphia City Paper

 

“Mason’s fantastic first novel, a deft reimagining of Homer’s Odyssey, begins with the story as we know it before altering the perspective or fate of the characters in subsequent short story–like chapters . . . This original work consistently surprises and delights.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 

“These imaginary lost books of The Odyssey enhance Homer’s epic tale with alternative scenarios and viewpoints. A finalist this year for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, Mason employs clear, crisp prose and a clever sense of humor to propel the action briskly . . . A paean to the power of storytelling.” —Library Journal

 

“Though none of these brilliantly conceived revisions fits neatly into Homer’s classic poem, each resonates with something of the artistic vigor of the ancient original . . . A daring and successful experiment in fictional technique.” —Booklist

 

“[A] literary adventure in which everything—the hero, the author, even the reader—is up for grabs . . . The epic as kaleidoscope.” —Kirkus Reviews

 

“Reading Zachary Mason’s forthcoming The Lost Books of the Odyssey, I’ve been in danger of missing my subway stop . . . Funny, spooky, action-packed, philosophical—the mood keeps shifting, and you keep wanting to read just one more.” —Barnes and Noble Review


In the Press

Books of The Times - Classical Spin - Zachary Mason?s ?Lost Books of the Odyssey? - Review - NYTimes.com
An ingeniously Borgesian series of jazzy, post-modernist variations on “The Odyssey” that are witty, playful, moving and tirelessly inventive.
- The New York Times

Two New Novels Based On Homer's Work : NPR
Two new novels this month are based on motifs from Homer's great poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Alan Cheuse reviews Ransom by David Malouf and The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachery Mason.
- NPR

Zachary Mason's The Lost Books of the Odyssey. - Slate Magazine
There are less hubristic ways to start a career as a novelist than by retelling the story of The Odyssey. For one thing, the original was pretty good. For another, the story has been retold before—by the likes of Alfred Lord Tennyson, James Joyce, and Fritz Lang, to name a...
- Slate


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About the Author

Zachary Mason, read by Simon Vance

ZACHARY MASON is a computer scientist specializing in artificial intelligence. He was a finalist for the 2008 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. He lives in California.

Zachary Mason
Simon Vance

© Yan Li
Zachary Mason

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Lost Books of the Odyssey
A Novel
Zachary Mason, read by Simon Vance

Unabridged Digital Audio

Unabridged  Digital Audio
Macmillan Audio
February 2010
Unabridged Digital Audio
ISBN: 9781427210043
ISBN10: 1427210047
Audio Run Time: 4:30
$12.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
January 2011
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312680466
ISBN10: 0312680465
5 1/2 x 8.25 inches, 240 pages
$14.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
April 2010
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429952491
ISBN10: 1429952490
240 pages
$9.99
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