Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Ransom by David Malouf

Ransom (2009)

by David Malouf

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4953320,650 (4.16)53

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 53 mentions

English (32)  Spanish (1)  All (33)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
I had a little trouble getting into it but once I got over whatever the problem was, I was off and running. This is a short lovely book about the death of Hector and how Priam negotiates to get his body back. Some of it is straight from the Illiad, some from the author's imagination. Beautifully written and imagined. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
A captivating tale where the author takes a series of events prior to the fall of Troy and re-imagines possible personal interactions. The relationship between Priam, King of Troy and the simple carter, Somax is especially memorable. ( )
  HelenBaker | Jul 4, 2016 |
I love retellings! This is a short book; only 224 pages of loveliness but wow. A gorgeous and graceful story. ( )
  BuffyBarber | Jun 5, 2016 |
While Ransom is a retelling of Homer’s Iliad, this doesn’t mean this is just a bite-sized simplification of the epic poem. I will admit that I’ve not read Iliad or The Odyssey by Homer; for some reason I’m scared to do so, even though I’ve managed epic poems that some may consider hard to read (The Divine Comedy and Paradise Lost). I’ve heard it said that you don’t really need to read Iliad to enjoy Ransom but I would have to disagree, I think David Malouf’s novel is inviting the reader to look at the poem in the way he interprets it. There are gaps that Malouf expects the reader to know and understand and without any prior knowledge to The Iliad and the war on Troy they can feel lost and confused.

Ransom starts at the point where Priam’s son Hector is slayed by Achilles and mainly focuses on the two characters. I’m not sure about Iliad and I’m not going to speculate on what Homer was trying to say in the poem but I will look at what Malouf is saying. Ransom is a novel on human grief, love and even revenue in an intimate and rather tender approach to the subject matter. The emphasis is on the human emotions behind the story that plays out during the Trojan War. Although the novel explores the emotions of both Achilles and Priam, not really caring about any of the other characters so we only really get to experience the ideas of grief and revenge.

The main point on reading this novel was to explore the idea of intertextuality or the relationship between two interconnecting pieces of text. While I can’t say I’ve had much experience with intertextuality, the only novel that springs to mind is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay; I suspect there is a little interconnectivity in all novels. Intertextuality covers everything from modernisations, parodies, reimaginings and anything that borrows from a different text.

This often makes me wonder, at what point do we stop studying intertextuality and more a look at plagiarism? The concept of intertextuality and plagiarism feels like a very thin line. Ransom for example is a retelling of Iliad where David Malouf wants the reader to explore this classic poem the way he sees it. This is his interpretation of what he feels Homer was trying to say. Doesn’t mean it is the only interpretation, Malouf is just taking his ideas and exploring it further.

One day I will get around to reading Iliad and The Odyssey; I’m saving them for when I have some time to read critically and take the time to full understand the two epic poems. Once I’ve done that, I think I might revisit Ransom, see if I get something out of it. I did enjoy Malouf’s style and it was an interesting novel to read but I really need to read the original first.

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2014/05/08/ransom-by-david-malouf/ ( )
  knowledge_lost | Dec 6, 2014 |
This slender novel retells and reimagines portions of The Iliad in spare, lean, very poetic prose. It briefly covers the story of Achilles, Patroclus, and Hector -- including hints of the backstory. But the focus of the book, as featured in its title, is King Priam traveling to Achilles' camp to beg for the body of his son Hector in exchange for a generous ransom.

David Malouf inhabits and expands on the psychology of Priam as he experiences grief, exerts his independence in a way he never had as king, bonds with a "simple carter" named Somax, pleads with Achilles and returns with the body. The passages on not knowing his sons -- he believes there are fifty princes who are his sons but is not sure -- contrasted with his pain at Hector's death are very moving.

Ransom was one of the best novels to make barely if any "Best of 2010" lists. Even better in that category is The Lost Books of Odyssey by Zachary Mason. ( )
1 vote nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
That this tender novel lingers so long and hauntingly in the mind is a testament both to Malouf’s poetry and to his reverence for the endless power of myth.
added by bongiovi | editNew York Times, STEVE COATES (Jan 22, 2010)

Was inspired by

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
The sea has many voices.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
This story begins with Achilles mourning the death of Patroclus during the Trojan War. Achilles, enraged at his friend's death, slays Hector, Patroclus' killer, and drags Hector's corpse behind a chariot around the walls of Troy. Achilles drags Hector's corpse behind his chariot around Patroclus' funeral pyre each morning for the following ten days, much to the dismay of the Trojans and his own men. The narrative shifts between Achilles and Priam, Hector's father, and the King of Troy. Priam cannot stand the abuse of his beloved son's body. Priam and Achilles loss are juxtaposed throughout the novel. Priam decides that he will approach Achilles without his royal decorations, mortal to mortal, and attempt to ransom Hector's body back with treasure. Priam then explains his plan to his family and advisers, who meet it with resistance. After acquiring a common cart driver from the market square Priam and his driver set out for the Greek camp.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

A tale of suffering, sorrow, and redemption, "Ransom" is a retelling of one of the most famous stories in all of literature--Achilles's slaughter and desecration of Hector, and Priam's attempt to ransom his son's body in Homer's "The Iliad."

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
49 wanted1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.16)
2 3
3 14
3.5 15
4 38
4.5 11
5 41

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 116,080,150 books! | Top bar: Always visible