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Ransom: A Novel by David Malouf
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Ransom: A Novel (original 2009; edition 2010)

by David Malouf (Author), Brian Barth (Cover designer)

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4293024,588 (4.24)45
Member:Osbaldistone
Title:Ransom: A Novel
Authors:David Malouf (Author)
Other authors:Brian Barth (Cover designer)
Info:Pantheon (2010), Edition: 1st/4th?; Hardcover; 224pp
Collections:Your library, Read, To read, reviewed
Rating:****1/2
Tags:achilles, priam, iliad, troy, fiction, novel, read, greeks, mythology, reviewed

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Ransom by David Malouf (2009)

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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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 |
Quite simply lovely. Again, I'm floored by David Malouf. In this case he brings his delicious light touch to the retelling of one episode from the Iliad, intimately exploring the lives and emotions of individuals (Priam, Hecate, Achilles etc) who were previously rather remote from our everyday world, inhabiting distant, mythic past. The text shines a gentle light upon the heart and mind of each character and they are made suddenly flesh and blood, brought within seemingly touching distance by Malouf's wonderful insight and his succinct, direct and touching writing style. ( )
  Vivl | Feb 9, 2014 |
Amazon summary: Revisiting scenes from The Iliad and delving into the hearts of two ancient heroes, Malouf (Remembering Babylon) evokes the final days of the Trojan War with cinematic vividness. After Achilles withdraws his forces from combat, a move that cripples the Greek army, his best friend, Patroclus, persuades Achilles to let him take the Myrmidons back into combat and to wear Achilles' armor. After Trojan king Priam's beloved son, Hector, kills Patroclus, guilt, rage and grief drives Achilles on a frenzied quest for revenge that sees him slay Hector and then tie Hector's corpse to his chariot and drag it around the besieged city. Priam, desperate to stop the desecration, decides to visit the enemy camp and offer money in exchange for Hector's body. He hires a humble cart driver and, aided by Hermes, they set out on a journey that takes Priam into the unknown and toward a meeting with Achilles. ( )
  dalzan | Oct 29, 2013 |
Recommended by Anne Baron, Madeline Miller
  JennyArch | Apr 12, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (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)
 

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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."

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