What are paparazzi, CAT scans, hyperspace, and jelly roll doing in the world's oldest literary story? Nothing good, some may feel, especially if they don't take seriously Hines' stated intent "to recapture for the modern reader some of the vigor and excitement the original audience must have felt" for the third-millennium B.C.E. tale of the giant Gilgamesh, his friend Enkidu, their exploits, Enkidu's death, and Gilgamesh's quest for immortality and subsequent resignation to human limitations. For Hines, giving the story renewed impact means a total rewrite in punchy free verse that incorporates dialect passages and the odd neologism as well as modern jargon. The results are racy, flippant, and sometimes perverse, as when Hines completely elides the old poem's thousand-years-before-Genesis account of a worldwide flood. Apparently the flood episode grants more power to the gods than Hines can stomach, at least if he shares the opinion he gives the dying Enkidu: that his and Gilgamesh's story proves, however imperfectly, "that we are the gods." This is Gilgamesh
for the New Age. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
“A vibrant and vigorous reimagining of the world’s first book, which should take its place alongside Heaney’s Beowulf
and Hughes’s Ovid
on the shelf of revivified classics.” —The New Statesman
“A brilliant version of an ancient tale; replete with humour, pathos, drama, and much more." –The Telegraph
"Derrek Hines makes Gilgamesh exciting." –The Guardian
"Hines's distinctive mode–part surreal, part cinematic–combines the concentration of lyric poetry with the narrative compulsion and fluency of an adventure story." –Times Literary Supplement
"Hines's energetic metaphors and nimble wit revivify the thrill of a very old tale."
“An evocative lyric journey through the Mesopotamian story, glittering with Hines’ own fresh images.” —The Financial Times
“A sparkling poetic vision.” —The Oxford Times
“Impressive, consistent . . . packed with good things.” —Christopher Logue
“I read this version with great interest and admiration. It has real energy and drive with some splendidly interesting images. I was held throughout.” —Ian Hamilton
“A superb achievement. The cinematic swoops, that terrific, loss-haunted elegy, absolutely packed with reverberating phrases. . . . It is not only a rendering of the poem but a brilliant, vital contemporary commentary on it.” —Paul Newman, editor, AbraxisFrom the Trade Paperback edition.