Book Opinions

The Epic of Gil-gamesh

I had heard the name Epic of Gilgamesh bounced around for a while, but didn’t really know what it was about. By chance, someone was getting rid of a copy and I snapped it up.

This has been the shortest story I’ve read so far, less than a hundred pages. As one of the earliest recorded stories we have, I read it more for historical information than story enjoyment. Not that it wasn’t entertaining. The return of a wild man to civilization, the outcast becoming friends with the king, death, and life are all a part of this old tale.

I’m probably erring by calling it a story. Poetry would be a more fitting term. The verses do not shy away from any subject, placing life and death with all their joys and sorrows before the reader’s eyes. They have ties to other great myths and stories, such as the story of Noah and the Flood and Greek myths.

The story centers around two men, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, and is split into 3 general time frames: The men’s lives before they met, their meeting and adventures together, and finally one’s search for meaning when the other dies. We meet mythical creatures, gods and goddesses, and are witnesses to both triumph and defeat.

Age recommendation:  This one depends on when you have broached different subjects (such as prostitution) with your children. You may want to read it and decide for yourself. I tentatively say 16+.

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