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Novels inspired by Greek myths for every age.
Part Huckleberry Finn, part The Odyssey, this book has characters you won’t want to let go. I absolutely loved it! As someone who also loves The Odyssey, I loved trying to guess what part the author was going to include from that great epic story and how he was going to tweak it to make it work is his Depression-era American tale. It’s a story about extending forgiveness and searching for home.
Scott Brick’s reverberating voice brings Odie, Albert, Mose, and Emmy’s epic adventure into bittersweet focus. The narrator’s voice carries you away with these four as they run from the Lincoln Indian Training School and float down the river in search of home. A uniquely American re-telling of The Odyssey.
After reading This Tender Land I decided to try Lovely War based on Sarah MacKenzie’s glowing review. I’d been seeing it around on Instagram, but it sounded–weird. Greek gods and goddesses being the frame story surrounding two couples during World War I? Strange.
However, when I realized one of my FAVORITE narrators was in the cast for the audiobook, I couldn’t help giving it a try. The audio version also includes musical interludes to the story. The audio version definitely adds to the listening experience in some creative ways.
This book stood out because it was set during World War I, instead of World War II, which so many novels have recently explored. It had a moment when I gasped and went, “Nooooooooo.” I love it when the plot turns unexpectedly. I really enjoyed the creativity of this story.
Someone told me to not read the synopsis of Cloud Cuckoo Land, but just to dive in. I think this is good advice, because it’s almost impossible to explain. The story originates in ancient times and reaches into the future and entwines various threads into a beautiful tapestry. From Constantinople to Idaho to a space ship, the main characters all are connected. This novel also includes many references to The Iliad and The Odyssey. It’s not necessary to have read those books to understand the story, but it made me smile. You can feel their influence when reading this quote that incapsulates the theme of the story:
-Cloud Cuckoo Land
“In a time,” he says, “when disease, war, and famine haunted practically every hour, when so many died before their time, their bodies swallowed by the sea or earth, or simply lost over the horizon, never to return, their fates unknown…” He gazes across the frozen fields to the low, dark buildings of Camp Five. “Imagine how it felt to hear the old songs about heroes returning home. To believe that it was possible.”
It was a unique book that really is it’s own experience. If you like fiction with a twist and a nod to mythology, this is for you.
Middle Grade Fiction
I LOVED this book. Adults and children can appreciate this multi-layered story. It takes the ancient idea of the quest remakes it for a new audience. During a school break two boys set out on the Appalachian Trail in search of a black bear. They also discover a lot about themselves in the process.
My kids loved it to, even the 7 year-old. They really picked up on a lot of deep things. I had to explain a few pot lines that got confusing but on the whole it was fabulous! Highly recommend the audio recording!
We read this classic together and it was enjoyed from ages 7 to 14. I was surprised at how much my 7 year-old comprehended the story despite the older language style. When we got to the end, my The Odyssey-loving 14 year-old immediately got a huge grin on his face and laughed out loud. The whole end of the book is a huge nod to Odysseus taking back his home.
Greek myths have universal themes that are still impacting us today. We can all related to the desire to overcome personal odds and the ache to return home. These more modern novels keep those themes going and reveal that we are still being influenced by ancient stories made new.
Have you enjoyed a novel inspired by Greek mythology recently?