A Year in Reading: Emma Donoghue


This is the year I finally got around to reading Gilgamesh, the epic I always somehow assumed was about medieval India… but in fact is about Mesopotamia (today Iraq) circa 2750 BCE.  In Stephen Mitchell’s fresh and muscular version from Free Press, Gilgamesh stunned me.  It’s as gripping as a modern novel, with its troubled hero-king and his alter ego / beloved Enkidu.  But it’s also entirely unlike anything from the western Judeo-Christian tradition, especially at that startling moment when the wild man Enkidu turns up, and the king sends out, not a priest, but a courtesan to civilise him with her “love-arts.”

More from a Year in Reading 2010

Don’t miss: A Year in Reading 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

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