The Lost Books of the Odyssey are, in truth, the Lost Short Stories of the Odyssey, and an impressive 44, at that. Each short story presents a different version of some part of the Iliad or the Odyssey, most-but-not-all focused on Odysseus. As always with story collections, I liked some more than others, but a surprising amount of them worked very well for me.
If there’s any chance at all that you’re going to read the book, just skip the following spoilers! Short stories are worse when you know what’s coming. I’m not giving away any twists, for the most part, just enough for me to recall the stories.
- Odysseus meets the sirens, and their song is Not What You Think.
- Odysseus finds a doppelganger in Troy.
- Paris is actually Death.
- Helen and Penelope switched roles, Helen actually lives with Odysseus.
- Odysseus gets actually married to Circe.
- Odysseus gets actually married to Nausicaa.
- The encounter with Nobody, as told by Polyphemus, and Polyphemus' further life.
- Penelope is Not What You Think.
- The trapping of Achilles.
- Theseus realises who's the scariest person on Crete (a bit of a departure, but a good one).
- Odysseus as a recovering traumatised war hero.
- The Odyssey as a chess primer. (Yes, really! One of the good ones right here.)
- Odysseus on tour returning to Troy in his old age.