Cover Image: The Odyssey

The Odyssey

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Member Reviews

I was already feeling kind of slumpy when I picked this up and when I saw the average Goodreads rating (an abysmal 3.26), I was nervous. I thought this would edge me further into my reading slump and that I'd have another DNF on my hands. Instead, I found myself pulled straight in to Ingrid's story. A crewmember on an immense cruise ship, Ingrid is a strange person having strange experiences. It's hard to say more without getting into spoilers, but I found this to be a delightfully messy and confusing book. There both is and isn't much in the way of plot and the characters themselves are odd and difficult to connect with. I can see why this isn't for everyone, but I felt like Lara Williams did a great job here and I'm glad I finally got around to picking this up.
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As a lover of strange or weird books The Odyssey's synopsis instantly intrigued me. Its description of being a "merciless takedown of capitalism" and being for fans of Sally Rooney, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Convenience Store Woman (aka ME!!) was the cherry on top. 

The story follows Ingrid, who works on a luxury cruise ship. Readers slowly learn about the past she has left behind for this job, which essentially becomes her whole life. 

This book is strange. Readers follow Ingrid as she takes on different jobs around the ship, hangs out with her friends, and occasionally spends a day wherever the ship docks. There were moments when I was intrigued by the strangeness of the story and the hints of Ingrid's past, but there were also times where I found myself a little bored. Williams is successful at critiquing consumer capitalism and presenting a character trying to look for meaning or something to believe in. I feel like this story could have done this in a shorter page count. When I got bored, the story started to lose me no matter how weird it got. 
I would recommend this if you like weird books, but you definitely have to go in okay with the fact that not everything will be explained!
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I’ll read any book that refers to ancient Greek myth and literature, even if it’s only loosely based on it. The Odyssey borrows it’s title from the Homeric epic, tying into the grand journey of self-discovery Williams’ main character, Ingrid, finds herself on. Unfortunately for me, the title is the only thing I enjoyed about this book. This book is weird and quirky, but I found it hard to connect to or even like any of the characters. It falls under the subgenre of “Moshfegh-adjacent” novels, with strange plots and unlikeable characters. As someone who enjoyed Williams’ The Supper Club, I still hope to read more of her books on the future, but The Odyssey just did not do it for me.
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This book made me think, in the beginning, of Alissa Nutting's Made for Love - bizarre and surreal. And from there, it just became stranger and more confusing. It reminded me of the TV series Severance, total mind f*ck. The meetings with Keith were like a session in the "break room". If you don't have any idea what I'm talking about, then you understand how I felt reading this book. I kept waiting for understanding but was left completely confused.
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I still have no idea if I loved or didn’t really like this book but I definitely didn’t hate it. It was funny but also confusing so I really don’t know how to feel about it.
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I really wanted to enjoy this book-it started out great but quickly devolved in to story line that I couldn't make heads or tails of no matter how many times I reread it.
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Ingrid works on a cruise ship where she is assigned a series of monotonous jobs, until she’s selected for a special mentorship program where her loyalty is put to the test. This book has an original concept, and I’m always a fan of dysfunctional / delusional main characters (Ottessa Moshfegh vibes). I did leave this book not sure that I completely understood it.
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What in the world did I just read? This book, which comes out today (!), is the second novel from Lara Williams after her incredible debut SUPPER CLUB. THE ODYSSEY is very unlike that one though. The surreal elements still draw a through line between the two, but THE ODYSSEY is beyond weird and I worry it may have gone over my head a bit. 

Ingrid works on a cruise ship, has a strange relationship with a pair of siblings on board, and rarely leaves the boat. She gets picked to be mentored by the CEO (or captain?) of the ship, and that's where things take a turn. We know she struggled with alcoholism and a bad divorce in her recent past, but we know very little else about Ingrid and why she has chosen to run away from her life and live on a ship for the past few years. This is a great set-up, but for me, the novel was way too sparse and impenetrable for me. I also don't know why it's being advertised as funny because I actually found it rather depressing.
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Wow! What a strange and interesting read! I didn't really know what to expect with this one and I was not disappointed. 

As a comment on capitalism and culty workplace culture, this one really resonated. It was also the perfect length for a book like this, this genre is best when it's short and make its points quickly and clearly. Williams certainly succeeded in this regard. 

I think this book will be polarizing, but it will be well-liked by folks who enjoy this type of read.
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Strange, entertaining book with a narrator who leaves her home to work on a cruise ship and become part of a bizarre mentorship program. It is the kind of book that is better to read without much description. It is probably not for everyone. But, if you enjoy unique novels, and don't mind an unlikable narrator, you may appreciate. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!
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I tried so hard to enjoy this book, but unfortunately I didn't like the writing style and didn't particularly care for the characters.
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Oh wow this was such a surprise/is now one of my new favourite books of 2022. 5 stars all round. This book has me on the floor for how weird/wild and wacky this truly was. I didn’t know anything about it going into it, I advise you all to do the same. 

Full of twists and turns that just leave you once you’ve read the last page like WTF was that I’ve just read/will leave you contemplating and wondering wether what you just read was a fever dream or was in fact your own eyes that has read the going’s on of this book 😅

This one won’t be for everyone, let me just tell you that but it’s one I advise anyone to give a go who knows like me you could come away from it and have it become a surprise fav of the year… all  you gotta do is that that leap of faith 👀
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What a strange little book. Disjointed, bizarre, and almost dreamlike, this story had me wondering if it was the book itself or the fact that I was reading right before bed that was making it so tell where we were and what was happening. Though I must say, it did really grow on me. Our main character is unhinged, everyone around her is unhinged. Frankly, It's kind of a blast, even if I'm still not 100% sure what happened
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this is yet another addition to the young-ish alienated woman trend in literary fiction. and because there are so many similar titles, this one just didn't come across as particularly refreshing or interesting. besides the setting, ie the cruise, it was a rather milquetoast affair. but even if i was bored readers who haven't read a lot books that fall into the 'female malaise' subgenre might find this more engaging.
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I have no idea what I just read, but I found myself unable to put it down. What does it mean? Is Ingrid in a cult or an mlm management scheme? Does the author truly understand wabi sabi? Does anyone? Cruise ships are scary.

Do not go on a cruise 

This was a very strange book but I highly recommend. It.
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This was an extremely bizarre novel! I was initially drawn in by the concept of a luxury cruise liner with cult undertones and the promise of an unlikeable narrator, and at face value, that seemed to be what The Odyssey was about. But as I got farther into the novel, I started to wonder about the point of it all. Ingrid's life on the cruise ship was as weird and unpleasant as her life off of it, and despite her growing, eerie closeness to her boss Keith and her growing alienation from her few friends, as in Ottessa Moshfegh's My Year of Rest and Relaxation, both protagonists seemed to end up right where they started, lacking any growth or satisfying narrative arc. However, I did enjoy the novel's smart language and some of the satirical aspects did amuse me.

Thank you to Zando Projects and NetGalley for the digital arc!
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So, there is this brand of fiction of 'I'm disenfranchised and miserable and self-destructive and join me for a while and then I'll reveal my inciting incident and then you can empathize with me.' And, I'm not not here for that. I'm not entirely unsympathetic as a person and I have the occasional millennial (though let's not pretend for a second that this gen invented the trope, okay???) self-pitying instinct, so you know, I get the brand.  
But we all have that fictional trope that isn't for us. That fills us with rage. That, just, ruins everything. This book features mine, so this book was not for me. And I hated it. 
I could argue that the blurb doesn't match the style, that the book's style is inaccessible, that the ending is the only good part. But, honestly, this wasn't fun enough to be worth working harder to organize a thesis around, so I'm out. 
In a very late attempt to be fair. The book features an imaginative hook and the writing is intentional and intelligent.
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A zany novel that contains clever observations and some great scenes. But, overall, there is no THERE, there. The plot, and the point, gets lost in the quirky telling.
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The Odyssey by Lora Williams

I really didn’t care for this book.  Very weird actions and happenings.  Not realistic.

Thanks to Net Galley for sending me an advanced reader’s copy for my review.
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This novel centers on a woman, Ingrid, who has left behind her loving spouse to go live and work on a cruise ship.  She rotates through duties and alcoholic off-shore excursions until she is selected to a cultish employee mentee program where she is pushed into different disturbing trials.  I guess I was thinking this would be like Chris Bohjalian’s “The Flight Attendant,” set at sea. No, not at all.  A little too out there for me.
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