27 May An Odyssey
How all occasions do inform against us! Well, not necessarily. Serendipity can also come into play. Such a happy accident happened to me just over a week ago. In Toronto I had launched my book, Odysseus, early in April. Later, at home here in Kelowna, I came across in the New Yorker an article I had to read immediately: “An Odyssey”, by Daniel Mendelsohn.
The article relates how the author, who teaches a course on the Odyssey at Bard College, not only was confronted in the course by his father, a mathematician, but also took his father on a cruise to see the actual locations where Odysseus was supposed to have visited on his ten-year struggle to return home after the Trojan War.
Yet not only the coincidence of an article about Odysseus coming so soon after the launch affected me, but also how deeply moving I found the relationship between son and father, both in their continuing differences throughout their lives and in the way they came together through the course and their journey.
And in the end, having seen the places except for Odysseus’s home in Ithaca, the father had come to the point where he had started to understand the power of the great epic poem; as he says, “The poem actually is more than the place!” Let us hope that my Odysseus lives up to this insight.