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Derek Walcott
325 pages

Omeros is an epic poem, loosely modeled on The Odyssey. Set in the Caribbean, its main characters are a collection of fishermen, a mysteriously beautiful woman named Helen, and a retired English major and his wife. The book jacket described a scene where one of the fishermen is transported to his ancestral African village. The led me to believe his journey was a central element of the story, but this was just one of many vignettes in this book.

Having enjoyed The Odyssey, I really wanted to like Omeros, too. However, the story didn't "flow"; it seemed to dart all over the place, with some sections set in the Caribbean, and others in London and America. I couldn't find the "glue" that made it all hang together. Significant events, like the death of an important character, were told in such a way that I had to re-read the passage to "get it." However, the story of the major and his wife, living out their final years on the island, was most poignant. Some passages in this work were quite lyrical, and I enjoyed the rhythmic language. However, my overall impression was less than positive. ( )


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 23rd, 2009 07:11 am (UTC)
You may have gotten into this with the wrong expectations. As far as I know (I only read a fragment in a poetry collection) Omeros is not really supposed to be a story, but was rather intended as a series of interconnected poems with themes from The Odyssey. Not really my kind of thing either, which is why I don't intend to read the book. Walcott is obviously a very fine poet, but I find it exhausting to keep having to concentrate on getting into some new fragment. Maybe I have been spoiled by too much novel reading :-)
Jun. 23rd, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your comment! I think you're right about my expectations. If I think of it as a "series of interconnected poems," the work makes more sense. Still not my cup of tea, though; like you I don't usually want to have to think so hard about my leisure reading.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )