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on September 30, 1997
This epic poem, much longer than Homer's original, was, for me, a very long read. Not because it's difficult, per se, but because Kazantzakis's language drips with honey--like baklava. I cannot read more than ten pages at a time because the writing (even in translation) is so incredibly rich...Kazantzakis describes the crescent moon as an ivory comb drawn through night's black hair. The reader needs time, again and again, to put the poem aside, to absorb and revel in what one has just read (and after four readings, the above remains as true as it did during the first reading). The "Odyssey" is sensual, passionate, hallucinatory and immensely/intensely spiritual, Kazantzakis's Odysseus so compelling that one is not startled when Death himself, while stalking Odysseus, falls asleep and dreams of being alive...dreams of being Odysseus. "The Last Temptation of Christ" and "Zorba the Greek" notwithstanding, "The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel" is not only Kazantzakis's best work, it rivals the best of Joyce, Hemingway, Pynchon, and Cary; only Durrell's "Alexandria Quartet" is as rich in language and as lovingly written, but Durrell's masterpiece is fiction, of course, not poetry. Only Homer himself has composed a work so valid and so vivid--not only for his own time, but for all time to come.
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on September 26, 1998
I have two copies of this book, both well worn. I began reading it over twentyfive years ago. As others have noted, the text is so rich that one or two pages is enough, and twenty is too much to digest. I find I tend to pick it up when I am discouraged. It is always a sweet wind to stand in, inducing a sense of space, of freedom in the cosmos, that lifts me to a higher perspective. And yes the translation is stunning. It is hard to remember that it was not written in English first. I have not finished the book - I just finished book 16, of 24, recently - and I don't know what I will do for solace, and reminders of my true free nature, when I have finished it. I suppose I could read it again. I have seen nothing else like it, and have never met anyone else who is reading it. So my experience of solitude is extreme when I read it. I should note also that it seems to have a particularly male point of view. There is also a feminist in me that would like to see that perspective broadened. Yet it offers so much that is true, I have to forgive this.
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on September 3, 1998
This is the greatest ode to freedom ever composed. While the language is rich, the action moving, and the imagery incredible, it is the spiritual odyssey of this great book that is so compelling. For those suffering from the depression of nihilism and the suffocating coils of today's "civilization" this book is the only medicine required. I carry it everywhere I go. A few sweet words from its pages are usually enough to make the world new again. Beware to those who partake of such sweetness, for the world as seen through your eyes may not match the wonder of these pages and you will find yourself reading it again and again.
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on December 5, 2000
A long, long time ago, I read this book and it changed the way I read literature. Kazantzakis' book goes beyond writing - it is a vivid exploration of the flame that consumes man. To go back to reading the frivolous so-called literature of today almost seems pointless. I am just thankful that Kazantzakis left us with such a rich body of work to read. The libraries were full of his books twenty years ago, but today I rarely find them on any shelf. To those of us who were lucky enough to discover him early, we know that he is the best kept secret of the twentieth century.
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on April 25, 2006
I read this in a period of weeks while homeless in a city, each day I would return to the library and read another huge section,never missing a day...the incredible prolixity and repetition, far from being burdensome, were like great rolling waves of majesty and freedom upon which I floated until the last cantos, surely one of the greatest climaxes in all world literature, brought me to rest and peace as Odysseus was united with Christ, and sailed off through the ice. And then I knew that for the rest of my life I would be as free as Odysseus had showed me how to be in this work. How's that?
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on January 12, 1998
It has been years since I read this book ,but reading your reviews Iam also reminded of how moved I was.Iwould read just one chapter per night and would have my fill,swimming with the sweetness of these words. Kimon Friar worked for (I believe) 5 years with N K on the translation.
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on November 26, 1997
This epic poem not only describes Kazantzakis own struggle with various religions and philosophies, but becomes a key to understanding many of his other major works such as Last Temptation, Zorba, St. Francis, and Buddha. Also one of the most amazing reads in the 20th century!
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on August 29, 2008
If you've recently read Homer (possibly for an anchor to Joyce) and concluded that Ulysses was a bit over the top, Kazantzakis is a joy compared to Joyce. Earthy, yes. Beautifully translated, oh yes. Best read all three at the midpoint of your life and chew on them for the second half.
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on May 3, 2013
There is no question that Nikos Kazantzakis was the greatest writer of the first half of the twentieth century. Here, with Kimon Friar's amazing translation, we see the core of a poet unburdened by the chaos and political mayhem that worked to stifle so much genius, rather than providing nourishment to it, throughout the period of two horrendous wars. Kazantzakis' commentary on human behavior; his insights into every facet of the human condition warrants deep analysis and meditation, and the iambic hexameter of this massive poem provides ample latitude to be swept to the heights, driven to the depths, and brought face-to-face with the creation, in every guise of expression.

To re-read Kazantzakis' masterwork - to carve out time each day with it - is one critical way to stay healthy, in mind and spirit; to remain acutely conscious of our era, and to dream the impossible dream. Kazantzakis did so and his legacy, as revealed in his great Odyssey, remains one of the most challenging, demanding and important works of literature of all time.
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on July 31, 2015
I got about one third of the way through – to the point where Odysseus plots to steal Helen of Troy from his dear old friend, and put the book down for a while. He succeeds, of course, with Helen willing, and kills a few of his dear old friend’s faithful servants in the process. A different Odysseus entirely from the man in Homer’s Odyssey. Homer’s wily Odysseus gave us a hero bent on a noble mission, who works some unsavory deceptions on the way. Instead of a gallant hero, Kazantzakis gives us a demigod-like gangster - someone to avoid, not to admire. It’s as though some alien took over.

Kazantzakis’ mastery of the ancient poetic form only intensifies my problems. Troubling as I found it, I picked the book up again and skipped to the final third in which Odysseus’ mind and physical reality blend in a quick, deathless, dreamlike montage. Even so, what’s to love? Psychadelia by itself holds little attraction.
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