Ransom / David Malouf.

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  • Additional Information
    • Abstract:
      Summary: A reimagining of the story of Priam's effort to claim the slain body of his son finds the grief-stricken Achilles striking out against Hector after the death of Patroclus during the siege of Troy, an act that results in a powerful confrontation.
    • ISBN:
      9780307378774 : HRD
      0307378772 : HRD
    • LCCN:
      2009020669
    • Accession Number:
      fay.294576

Reviews

Booklist Reviews 2009 December #2

The Iliad concludes with an episode far more solemn than the burning of Troy. Achilles avenges Patroclus' death by slaying Hector, Troy's greatest warrior, and dragging the corpse behind his chariot before the walls of Troy daily for 11 days. No other Greek, let alone any Trojan, dares to try and stop Achilles. But Hector's father, Priam, king of Troy, has a vision and acts upon it. He doffs all his royal splendor, has a donkey cart loaded with treasure, and, sitting next to the carter, goes to the Greek lines to ransom his son's body on bended knee. Australia's great contemporary novelist expands upon this deeply moving story most obviously by introducing a character not found in Homer, the humble carter; omitting the escort Homer allows Priam; and having the king appreciate human commonality by listening to the day laborer's domestic and familial concerns. So doing, Malouf breathes a greater egalitarian spirit into an already profoundly humanizing legend—what's more, he does it in prose as good or better than the best modern Englishings of his source. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2009 September #2

Achilles slaughters Hector at Troy and eventually comes face to face with Hector's father in this study of war, grief, and hard-won sympathy. From IMPAC Dublin Literary Award winner Malouf; this should be top-notch. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

LJ Reviews 2009 December #1

The first novel in ten years from Australian-born 1996 IMPAC winner Malouf is a moving, lyrical retelling of Achilles' desecration of Hector's corpse and his capitulation to Priam's appeal for proper rites and burial for the Trojan hero. Malouf's prose is triumphantly sure, and his characterizations of the subtle and complex bonds between Priam and Achilles, gods and mortals, wives and husbands, parents and children, nobles and commoners, and beasts and men resonate with authority. This authorial credibility thrums strongest in Malouf's meditation on the relationship between Priam and Somax, the humble carter who bears his ransom to the Greek camp. Their connection is rooted in the novel's great theme of chance and the choices, obligations, and responsibilities it bestows on us. Malouf ultimately explores how chance, or opportunity, serves as the muse of all great storytelling. VERDICT Malouf's masterly return to the novel ably stands with recent versions of Homeric themes such as Seamus Heaney's The Cure at Troy and Christopher Logue's War Music.—J. Greg Matthews, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman

[Page 100]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

PW Reviews 2009 October #4

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. Though Malouf's sparingly deployed details, vigorous language and sly wit humanizes these tragic heroes, the story is unmistakably epic and certainly the stuff of legend. (Jan.)

[Page 31]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.