Acclaimed professor, author, translator (C.P. Cavafy) Daniel Mendelsohn, whose books include the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million and The Elusive Embrace, is known for his undergraduate Odyssey seminar at Bard College. In An Odyssey: A Father, A Son, and an Epic (Knopf), he writes movingly of what happened when his 81-year-old father, a retired research scientist, signed up for his son’s course.
“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.
“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.