cover image Ithaca


Patrick Dillon. Pegasus (Norton, dist.), $25.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-68177-155-7

Dillon’s vibrant retelling of The Odyssey is set during the aftermath of the Trojan War and centers on Telemachus, son of the Greek war hero Odysseus. The book deftly chronicles the 16-year-old’s feelings of abandonment, humiliation, and anguish as he tries to protect his mother, Penelope, and discover the whereabouts of the father he has never met. Penelope was pregnant with Telemachus when Odysseus left their island home of Ithaca for the battle of Troy to rescue the celebrated beauty Helen. The Greeks were victorious after many years because of Odysseus’s legendary act of subterfuge, the Trojan Horse. Back in Ithaca, Telemachus’s home is occupied by lewd, savage men who steal the family’s valuables, squat in their courtyard, and torment Penelope. Telemachus reluctantly decides to leave his mother and search for his father. Dillon’s (The Story of Buildings) use of the father-son bond and their parallel journeys—Odysseus’s traumatic, meandering trip toward home and Telemachus’s turbulent ascent to manhood—is as rich as it is complex. This is a smart and highly readable adventure, and a fresh take on a classic story. Agent: David Haviland, Andrew Lownie Literary. (July)