There is a theory out there that the Odyssey wasn t written by Homer, but by the princess Nausicaa who is featured in the epic poem whatever her real name may have been Homer s Daughter is Robert Graves riff on exactly that In this novel, Nausicaa, an Elyman princess living in a Greek settlement in Sicily, is the central character and narrator She comes to consider herself as Homer s literary daughter and pens the Odyssey based on some turbulent events that disrupt her idyllic Sicilian life around the time when she has reached the age to be married The chain of misfortunes is set off when her older brother mysteriously disappears and her father, King Alpheides, leaves to go search for his lost son A band of one hundred unruly suitors soon invades the palace, not only pressuring Nausicaa to marry one of them but also steadily undermining the king s authority and planning to overthrow him upon his return Nausicaa and her family are left with but a few loyal subjects and a mysterious beggar washed to shore by the sea with which to plot against the rude, troublesome young men that have taken up residence in her palace If you remember the story of Penelope and her suitors, you can easily guess how things turn out.Nausicaa eventually puts to verse this tumultuous episode, and in the process she declares that as the Iliad was devised by a man for men, this epic, the Odyssey, will be devised by a woman for women I can t claim to know remotely enough about either text to have any opinion about how plausible this is, but nevertheless, I love that it is even an idea I know that the next time I read the Iliad and the Odyssey, I will be looking for stylistic difference between the two and thinking about this theory I flat out struggled with the first few chapters, which seemed sluggish and left me feeling unattached to any of the characters I distinctly remember thinking that the author s prose a middle aged man from the 1950s really didn t match his main character a Greek princess from over 2000 years ago But around the mid way mark, the writing fell into place and there were chapters that were true page turners It was well worth trudging through those first few chapters, though I didn t finish the book feeling enthralled The end of the tale is wrapped up bloodily and hurriedly, and there is far less about Nausicaa s writing of the Odyssey, or even about her progression with her newfound verse writing skill, than I anticipated I think I would ve enjoyed a little bit on this front as I think it would ve added some depth to her character and filled out the whole premise upon which the book was written There s no doubt that much was lost to me as I hardly remember the Odyssey If I hadn t been working against a deadline for a book club, I would ve probably re read the Odyssey before taking this on Instead, I took side trips to various wiki pages whenever I felt like there was a reference I was obviously missing, or when my memory needed some jogging That helped me get out of this book I highly recommend anyone thinking about this book to do what I didn t do first read a synopsis of the Odyssey if not the original text itself before diving into this Three and a half stars for an imperfect but clever and overall enjoyable story. Only let Eurymachus ask for another bath she cried I ll take net and axe and butcher him, as Clytaemnestra butchered Agamemnon My heart growls in my breast like a bitch with puppies when a stranger approaches. Graves Has Recreated Another Strong And Convincing Historical Setting This Time The Scene Of The Odyssey, Which He Believes Occurred In Western Sicily Graves Believes Also That The Author Of The Odyssey Was Not The Blind And Bearded Homer Of Legend, But The Young Woman Who Calls Herself Nausica In The Story I enjoyed that very much Graves tells the story of how the Odyssey that we have come to know came into being Nausicaa, a Sicilian princess, wrote it, inspired by real events surrounding her family and their little kingdom Part of the fun is in comparing the real our Odyssey with the fictitious story hers and in that Graves thought it quite probable that this is how the Odyssey actually came to be written, which would make the fictitious story the real one The language is quite modern, not very epic at all, but naturally includes lots of references to ancient myths and local history and customs, so yes, it requires a willing reader Longer blog entry, in German I had a hard time getting into this book The first half is tiresome and I almost gave up on it but then in the second half the plot picks up and the writing improves In the end I would say that I do recommend this book, though with a warning about its slow start. In Homer s Daughter, Robert Graves takes up Samuel Butler s argument that it wasn t blind old Homer who wrote The Odyssey, but a young woman from Sicily Her name was Nausicaa, says Graves, and she wrote the epic poem in the tradition of the singing poets called Homer s Sons, based on her own life experiences Nausicaa, the princess who does the washing in The Odyssey, who saves Odysseus when he is shipwrecked on the island where she lives, who gives him some of the laundry to wear and helps him on his way back to Ithaca In Graves s version, Penelope s lovers are in fact Nausicaa s suitors, and the scene of the archery contest is the palace of Nausicaa s father, the King of the Elymans in Drepanum, Sicily In return for saving the life of Phemius the singer during the final battle, Nausicaa makes him promise to sing and circulate her epic poem The Iliad, which I admire, is devised by a man for men this epic, the Odyssey, will be devised by a woman for women Understand that I am Homer s latest born child, a daughter and listen attentively When I have finished the poem, and written it out in cuttlefish ink on sheepskin, you must memorize it, and, if necessary, improve the language where it halts or flags.Well, and even if it s not true, then it is at least a very, very good story I loved it If you re a fan of The Odyssey I am and not opposed to non traditional interpretations of the classics yes , then you will like this book I sure did. I was so excited when I learned about this book, but I ended up just as bored and confused as I was by The King Must Die They both are too slow and uninteresting to make me want to keep reading I seem to be really failing with books written in the mid twentieth century lately between Robert Graves and Mary Renault , but Anya Seton is one of my favorite authors of all time, so it s not like I m prejudiced against older historical fiction It s not the era in which it was written, it s just a boring book. This is an excellent novel that elaborates on the hypothesis that the reason The Iliad and The Odyssey diverge in style and present inconsistencies is due to the latter not being the work of Homer but of a Sicilian princess, Nausicaa, who is the true author of the tale by virtue of composing it and sending her father s court bard to popularise it all throughout the Hellenic world.The premise of the two major works of Western epic poetry having two different authors, one of them an anonymous woman, is intriguing, and Graves has made it into a very plausible story that s also a pleasure to read, if you like quiet paced and full of intrigue storytelling Those who ve read The Odyssey will recognise Nausicaa in some of its plotlines, not least because she not only appears in it with her own name as one of Odysseus seductresses but is also the source of the most famous scenes that of Penelope s odious suitors, whom she stays away from by weaving and unweaving endlessly The joke here is that the real Nausicaa is the opposite of the ber beautiful siren in the epic, as she s a plain girl But a very clever one, very clever indeed When her brother gets lost in a silly adventure abroad and her father absents himself from the kingdom, she s besieged by unwanted and boorish suitors, whom she must outsmart to keep her kingdom and her head, and whom eventually she gets killed at a banquet Obsessed as she is with leaving a legacy and not let her life s story be lost to time, she s inspired to create an epic with her resident Son of Homer, as bards called themselves back then, and The Odyssey comes into life over several discussions and disputes with her home poet, which provide hilarious explanations for the inconsistencies and contradictions within the epic.The novel is slow until the last part, and starts with lengthy descriptions of places, tribes, and peoples Whilst it doesn t require any deep knowledge of history to be appreciated, I m not sure it will be an easy read for those who don t know their Homer a bit The plotline is interesting if you know what Graves is aiming at with this novel and get the references, for the author assumes his audience does. If the Odyssey was A New Hope this book is The force Awakens All the same plot points plus a gender swapped lead Robert Graves hypothesizes that the original Odyssey was written by a woman, and that woman s experience must have been something like the events of this novel A bit far fetched, but still entertaining.