Monday, November 27, 2023

The Iliad - Emily Wilson

This is a mildly embarrassing confession, but although I've read The Odyssey, I haven't read Emily Wilson's translation yet - despite having had it on my shelf for a while. I was reminded about this last week when someone returned a copy because they didn't like the deckled edge. A quick look on Wikipedia suggests they're not alone and that the misconception that it's a printing error instead of a design choice is a common one. I'm not overly fond of deckled edges either, but I do like it here with it's nod to our historical obsession with the Greek and Roman classics. 

Wilson's Odyssey was, and remains, a hit. The youth are also really into Marcus Aurelias, and locally I'm pushing Ovid's Metamorphoses because I really enjoyed it and it's so relevant to a lot of the very popular mythology retellings around at the moment. It's not really surprising that Wilson's Iliad would fly off the shelves either, and yet I don't know that I ever expected to see young women come in for a £30 hardback on publication day and leave with it and Bea Fitzgerald's 'Girl Goddess Queen' under their arms - but I did. 

The Iliad is currently being reprinted so it's not easily available online if you want a physical copy (that big website doesn't have it) but there are plenty around in actual bookshops and this might be on more teen wishlists than you imagine. And just generally on more wishlists. I got over-excited and bought my copy straight away - now I really need to make sure I read it before it comes out in paperback...

Girl Goddess Queen is a funny and smart take on the Hades and Persephone myth appropriate for teens and above - as an adult reader there were some repetitive bits I thought could have been cut, but that's most YA books for me. I really liked the combination of banter and historical detail on ancient Greek buildings and customs. 

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