War Music

By Christopher Logue,

Book cover of War Music: An Account of Homer's Iliad

Book description

A remarkable hybrid of translation, adaptation, and invention

Picture the east Aegean sea by night,
And on a beach aslant its shimmering
Upwards of 50,000 men
Asleep like spoons beside their lethal Fleet.

“Your life at every instant up for― / Gone. / And, candidly, who gives a toss? /…


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Why read it?

1 author picked War Music as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Logue’s modernist reworking of the Iliad – the Trojan war - mother of all Mediterranean contests, is quite unlike anything you’ll ever read. Logue doesn’t translate, he remakes. It’s as cinematic as a film script, cast in a poetic language as brilliant as anything in modern times, full of jump cuts, staccato effects, and startling contemporary references. The violence of the fighting has a slamming immediacy (‘Dust like red mist/Pain like chalk on slate’), the Mediterranean – ‘the sea that is always counting’ - glimmers and sighs, the Gods behave like spoiled children, helicopters go whumping over the dunes.

From Roger's list on the Mediterranean world.

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