An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic [Idioma Inglés]

 
9780345806215: An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic [Idioma Inglés]
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"Subtle, profoundly moving . . . an intricately constructed, multidimensional journey of a father and son and their travails through life and love. Mendelsohn weaves his basket with many wands; the complexity seems natural, an account of the quality of life itself, a route to revelation. Mendelsohn explicates the Odyssey with exemplary and generous clarity. A book of shimmering, beautiful, dapple-skilled intelligence." --Adam Nicolson, The New York Times Book Review

"Rich, vivid, a blood-warm book . . . a deeply moving tale of a father and son's transformative journey in reading--and reliving--the Odyssey. Mendelsohn wears his learning lightly yet superbly. What catches you off guard about this memoir is how moving it is: it has many things to say not only about Homer's epic poem, but about fathers and sons. Mendelsohn has written a book that's accessible to nearly any curious reader. The book partakes of at least four genres: classroom drama; travel writing; biographical memoir; literary criticism. Revealing and funny . . . Mendelsohn makes Homer's epic shine in your mind." --Dwight Garner, The New York Times

"My favorite classicist once again combines meticulous literary investigation with warm and wrenching human emotion--books like these are why I love reading." --Lee Child

"Poignant, tender, affecting. . . . Mendelsohn is one of the finest critics writing today; he's also an elegant and moving memoirist. One of the pleasures of reading him in any genre is being in expert hands. Mendelsohn's new book draws on all his talents as he braids critical exegeses into intimate reminiscences, to illuminate them both. In An Odyssey, a seminar at Bard College becomes a voyage of discovery, not just for his students but also for Mendelsohn. He is alert to ambiguities, aware that the path to any truth is a winding one; his defining skill is his ability to trace those paths in rich detail and intricate layers of revelations that build to a deeper understanding--of art, of life--that is humanly and artistically satisfying. Mendelsohn's use of the classical Greek technique of ring composition perfectly captures the stop-and-start rhythms of his progress . . . Brilliant." --Wendy Smith, The Washington Post

"When Daniel Mendelsohn's mathematician father lands in his son's Homer seminar at Bard, the older man sets in motion an odyssey both hilarious and heartfelt. Father and son start in the pages of an epic, board a ship to follow the hero's path through the Mediterranean, and finally end where all our stories do. An Odyssey melds genius-level lit crit with gut-level moving memoir. Beautiful and wise." --Mary Karr

"A happy homecoming of another kind. Dread of the alien thrums through [Homer's] Odyssey; for Mendelsohn, the ancient tale becomes an occasion not only to explore his relationship with his father, but to transform it. He recounts the progress of the seminar he teaches, in which his father is a lively (often obstreperous) presence. The students are invigorated. In acknowledging the power of the Homeric poem to bring depth to human relations, Mendelsohn's father is acknowledging the value of his son's world and expertise. The recognition leaves Mendelsohn free to see through his father's hardness--his 'exacting standards for everything'--to the vulnerable fighter within: a scrappy, strategizing Odysseus from the Bronx. What solace or despair resides in the unexpected relevance of this ancient poem, its encounters with Otherness thrown into high relief by the xenophobia of our time? Three millennia later, we have yet to habitually turn to the bedraggled stranger and take note of his tears. . . . Poignant." --Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, The Atlantic

"Tender . . . complex and moving: a book that has much to say about fathers and sons. On one level, An Odyssey elegantly retells the story of Mendelsohn's Odyssey course, complete with all the gags, competition, and good cheer of an intergenerational bromance. [But] it dives deeper, excavating a portrait of Mendelsohn's special student, his father: his lonely childhood, his early brilliance, his forfeiture of Latin for a life of numbers. Why a man so warm could be so cold. As Mendelsohn unpeels the layers of his father's life and education, he dramatizes the beauty--and tedium--of the classroom. The reality of instruction is messy; Mendelsohn happily shows us how difficult the transference of passion can be. In this way, the students become supporting characters to the book's hero, Mendelsohn's father, who lurks in the corner like a hero in disguise. There is but one ending to the book; within a year, Jay would die, and so Mendelsohn's journey--indeed like Homer's--would be undertaken after the fact, when something remained to be learned. It is a remarkable feat of narration that such a forbiddingly erudite writer can show us how necessary this education is, how provisional, how frightening, how comforting." --John Freeman, The Boston Globe

"By turns family memoir, brilliant literary criticism, and a narrative of education. Most of all, An Odyssey is a love story. Mendelsohn makes his way through the text of the Odyssey, but also tells a larger, personal story--of his family. Both odysseys focus on quests, recognitions, homecomings. The book asks: How can you really know anyone else? A truth everywhere acknowledged in Mendelsohn's odyssey is that everyone has a story, just as every hero has a flaw, and that everyone needs stories to get through life. Mendelsohn is the professor every college kid dreams about: learned, sympathetic, encouraging and challenging in equal measure. Like Homer, Mendelsohn makes us grateful for journeys, and the companions--especially our families--who accompany us along our individual and collective paths. . . . In An Odyssey, he reels us in with a storyteller's strongest gifts: passion, clarity, and timing." --Willard Spiegelman, Wall Street Journal

"Fascinating. . . intensely moving. There are many moments to cherish in this tangled and passionate investigation. Mendelsohn's exploration is [both] a personal family memoir and a critical report on Homer's epic, and the two facets illuminate each other. Mendelsohn is an imaginative teacher, and the discussion of the Odyssey sparkles. The Mediterranean cruise that father and son take pays off in surprising ways; we get a haunting glimpse of the fear that the end of your journey means finis, the hope residual in permanent postponement. Best of all are the various small recognitions that combine to build the late-blossoming intimacy between father and son. This is an honest, and loving, account of the improbable odyssey that gave them this one last deeply satisfying adventure together." --Peter Green, The New York Review of Books

"Heartfelt, touching . . . a dazzlingly rich story of identity and recognition from an exacting critic and award-winning memoirist. . .When his father enrolled in Mendelsohn's undergraduate seminar, Mendelsohn didn't know his father would only have a year to live. The course, and the cruise retracing Odyssey's voyage to Ithaca a few months later, set in motion an emotional journey neither man could have anticipated. With each new foray in his oeuvre, Mendelsohn discovers deeper truths about those we think we know, including ourselves. Mendelsohn's intelligence glitters on the page." --Rajat Singh, Los Angeles Review of Books

"Mendelsohn is a force. His sentences are freighted with knowledge, observation, and feeling. Both the classroom experience--where Mendelsohn's father Jay serves as a counterpoint to Mendelsohn's sharp reading of the story--and the boat excursion they take offer opportunities: his father slowly sheds his carapace and gives himself over to the adventure, revealing a side that we--and his son--may not have seen before. Mendelsohn is an encouraging teacher with enthusiasm and wonderful energy. But perhaps most significantly, readers come to understand him as a man with long-borne emotions, for his relationship with his father has not been the easiest. [This] father-son journey with Homer as guide [is] no buddy story, but a hard-fought, hard-won, late-life conciliation." --Peter Lewis, Christian Science Monitor

"Fascinating . . . Mendelsohn expertly examines the Odyssey with depth and classical acumen, extracting meaning from even its most subtle moments. He explores [its] historical importance with the comfortable clarity of someone who has spent decades immersed in Greek literature. He details his own relationship with the ancient poem, and he culls from the narrative many insights into his own familial bonds, specifically with his father. But the most entertaining part may be the classroom scenes. By the end of the semester, Mendelsohn's father had become part of the class and his presence leads to a revealing and dramatic moment. An Odyssey is a journey worth taking." --Jonathan Russell Clark, San Francisco Chronicle

"Moving . . . a surprising piece of art--a masterful memoir of reading, teaching and learning; a book as full of twists and turns as its subject, often beautiful too. The Homeric questions about fidelity, heroism and survival are elevated from Mendelsohn's seminar by the relationship between the two men. This is a story of reconciling a scientist and an artist; Jay, the man of calculus, comes to influence both his son and his fellow pupils. As well as a contribution to the art of memoir, An Odyssey is a vivid defence of the close rereading of a classical text, the tiny questions from which bigger pictures become clear." --Peter Stothard, The Financial Times

★ "Enlightening--engaging, gripping and deeply moving . . . Mendelsohn explores the enduring relevance of Homer's Odyssey through a memoir tracing the complex relationship between father and son." --Library Journal (starred review)

"Beguiling. . . in this memoir, Mendelsohn recounts a freshman class on the Odyssey he taught at Bard College with his father, an 81-year-old computer scientist, sitting in. ... Mendelsohn gradually unwraps layers of timeless meaning in the ancient Greek poem; Homeric heroes offer resonant psychological parallels to a modern family. Mendelsohn weaves trenchant literary analysis and family history into a luminous whole. A gem." --Publishers Weekly

★ "Sharply intelligent. . . A frequent contributor to the New Yorker and the New York Times Book Review, Mendelsohn is also a classics scholar. His father, a retired mathematician, had been interested in the classics during his school days and decided to continue his education by studying with his son . . . Ultimately, this book [is] about what they learn about each other--and what they can never know about each other. The author uses a close reading of the epic to illuminate the mysteries of the human condition; he skillfully, subtly interweaves textual analysis [with] the lessons of life outside it . . . A well-told story that underscores the power of storytelling."--Kirkus, starred review

"There are a handful of books that have captured the pleasure and romance of [the classics]. Donna Tartt's The Secret History was one. This is another. What happens in this book isn't really its point; it's more about the telling than the tale. And the telling is breathtaking. Homer has a phrase for those who can speak bewitchingly: they have 'wingèd words'. Mendelsohn has wingèd words." --Catherine Nixey, The Times (UK)

"Radiant . . . a candid, majestic book on the art of teaching, and the push-pull relationship between professor and student, especially if the student is one's father. At the book's center is [Mendelsohn's father] Jay, whose presence in the classroom bewilders and charms the other students and his son . . . Mendelsohn artfully allows Jay to define himself through bluster and unexpected moments of tenderness. With skill and passion [Mendelsohn] underscores how and why Homer still resonates today. Intimate connections between Greek myths and our own lives reveal the author at his singular best. With this graceful and searching memoir, we all drink from the cup of knowledge proffered by one of our leading philosopher-writers." --Hamilton Cain, Star Tribune

"Lucid textual analysis [of Homer's the Odyssey], and a profound meditation on the inherent unknowability of the men who raise us. More than that, An Odyssey is a moving portrait of the father Mendelsohn comes to know in the last years of his father's life--[a] quest that is the beating heart of the book. I came away with a renewed and deepened sense of the rewards found in a close reading of the Odyssey. The poem is about life itself: marriage, fidelity, homecoming, fatherhood, sonship, duty, honor, love, and in true Greek style, preparation for death. To encounter the poem, and to read it deeply, is to encounter ourselves." --Thomas Jacobs, America Magazine

"Spellbinding . . . multi-layered, inclusive. . . With bardic capacity, Mendelsohn tells a story that is heroic in scope yet distinctly humble in manner. Mendelsohn's keen, penetrating observations plumb the micro-emotions of the several stories interwoven here. Slowly, painstakingly and with abiding, warm humor, Mendelsohn pursues reconciliation with his prickly father, who becomes a cantankerous student in Mendelsohn's seminar at Bard College. The book's magic is in moving from topic to topic, setting to setting, insight to insight, ancient to modern over what is sometimes no more than a paragraph break, and with no creaking of the narrative machinery. A meditation on filial love as candid, tender and in its own way ruthless as its counterparts in the Bible, Shakespeare and Homer . . . written with style as remarkable and flexible as the Odyssey, with sentences Proustian in complexity yet lucid and balanced . . . both dense and fleet, and wholly captivating." --Tim Pfaff, The Bay Area Reporter

"It's hard to pierce a legend, even when it's just generation-old family lore . . . As author-professor, Mendelsohn doesn't lecture; his storytelling leaves room for other teachers -- including his current students, his former professors and relatives who decode multi-layered family myths. All of these relationships yield an emotional bounty, nourished by memories, loyalty, love or some combination of the three. Equal parts lit-crit class, language lesson and memoir, An Odyssey create[s] its own unique and compelling sub-genre. Each element of Mendelsohn's story is buffed to perfection . . . Brilliant." --Alison Buckholtz, Florida Times-Union

"A memorable mixture of literature and life. . . One of the students in Mendelsohn's spring undergraduate seminar on Homer's Odyssey was quite different from the others: Mendelsohn's own father. Classroom discussions of Odysseus' long, wandering journey home to Ithaca led fat...

Reseña del editor:

Named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR, Library Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, and Newsday
A Kirkus Best Memoir of 2017
Shortlisted for the 2017 Baillie Gifford Prize

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.. NOTA: El libro no está en español, sino en inglés.

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Descripción VINTAGE, United States, 2018. Paperback. Condición: New. Reprint. Language: English. Brand new Book. Named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR, Library Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, and NewsdayA Kirkus Best Memoir of 2017Shortlisted for the 2017 Baillie Gifford Prize 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. Nº de ref. del artículo: ABZ9780345806215

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