Knopf, Hardcover, 9780307263551, 176pp.
Publication Date: August 1, 2006
A bold reimagining of our civilization’s greatest tale of war, by the author of the acclaimed best seller Silk.
Alessandro Baricco re-creates the siege of Troy through the voices of twenty-one Homeric characters in the narrative idiom of our modern imagination. Sacrificing none of Homer’s panoramic scope, Baricco forgoes Homeric detachment and admits us to realms of subjective experience his predecessor never explored. From the return of Chryseis to the burial of Hector, we see through human eyes and feel with human hearts the unforgettable events first recounted almost three thousand years ago—events arranged not by the whims of the gods in this instance but by the dictates of human nature. With Andromache, Patroclus, Priam, and the rest, we are privy to the ghastly confusion of battle, the clamor of princely councils, the intimacies of the bedchamber—until finally only a blind poet is left to recount, secondhand, the awful fall of Ilium.
Imbuing the stuff of legend with a startling new relevancy and humanity, Baricco gives us The Iliad as we have never known it. His transformative achievement is certain to delight and fascinate all readers of Homer’s indispensable classic.
Alessandro Baricco was born in Turin in 1958. The author of four previous novels, he has won the Prix Médicis Étranger in France and the Selezione Campiello, Viareggio, and Palazzo al Bosco prizes in Italy. He lives in Rome.
“For all those curious about The Iliad but intimidated by its heft, Baricco’s book offers a swift, stylish, summer-reading version of the great epic.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“A taut and mesmerizing tale.”
—The Seattle Times
“Baricco divides the tale into a series of monologues by characters both major and minor. The result is compelling, occasionally thrilling.” —Entertainment Weekly