cover image Mulysses


Øyvind Torseter, trans. from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson. Enchanted Lion, $29.95 (156p) ISBN 978-1-59270-276-3

After botching several ’dos, the lanky, mule-snouted creature who narrates this topsy-turvy saga by Torseter (The Heartless Troll) is fired from his hairdressing job. He’s subsequently evicted from his apartment, which is being demolished, and finds not only that his landlord has sent his belongings to a storage locker but that redeeming them will set him back $5,000. When a dapper, elephant-headed businessman at the neighborhood tavern offers the same amount to anyone willing to accompany him on a voyage to find the world’s biggest eye, the protagonist naturally signs on. The two load up on bargain expedition supplies and set sail in a rickety vessel, but the businessman abandons ship the minute seas grow heavy (“I’m afraid I have to leave for a meeting,” he apologizes smoothly, as a helicopter appears overhead). Fortunately, a stowaway gives the beleaguered burro some much-needed assistance. Seemingly inconsequential objects introduced early, including a lost locket, a synthetic sweater, and a missing whale eye, slot tidily into place later, providing Chekhovian satisfaction. Via artwork featuring Jules Feiffer–like caricature and fanciful, indigo-washed ocean depths, Torseter blends subverted Odyssean tropes with the narrator’s comic resignation to present a simultaneously quirky and gentle caper. Ages 8–up. (Apr.)