Categorized into seven parts, Odyssey to Freedom takes the reader through a journey of history, struggle, and human emotion.
Autobiographies generally focus on the life events and history of the author. Odyssey to Freedom is not any different in this regard.
George Bizos begins the novel by telling the reader of his early adult struggles against Nazi Germany and how he came to live in South Africa.
He highlights his dramatic escape with New Zealand soldiers from the small Greek village where he lived and how his personal history since birth has shaped him as an individual, a personal history that has had an indirect effect on millions in South Africa.
After reading the novel, one cannot fail to notice that although Odyssey to Freedom centers on Bizos’s life, it seems to tell an entirely different story. A story that is not only about Bizos’s life, but one about the mass majority of South Africans and their struggle against apartheid.
The manner in which Bizos presents his take on the struggle against apartheid is also unique and refreshing. After Bizos begins his career in law, the novel’s structure radically changes and Bizos begins illustrating his viewpoint on the apartheid struggle through his observations in the courtroom, case-by-case and moment-by-moment. This unorthodox approach to writing his autobiography gives the reader a more detailed account of the judicial events during the apartheid regime, depicting the emotions and ambience of the courtroom in a way no court manuscript ever could. Plus, court statements from thousands of black South African citizens were not recorded or falsified during the apartheid regime for the benefit of those in power. This makes Odyssey to Freedom one of the few texts in the world with a human and emotionally deep portrayal of the events in apartheid courtrooms.
I find that just about any individual will enjoy reading Odyssey to Freedom. The novel, simply put, has something for everyone. For readers interested in international relations and how to world perceived South Africa during apartheid, Bizos integrates that into numerous areas of the novel. For readers interested in political science, Odyssey to Freedom provides insight into how one of the world’s most controversial regimes operated. And for readers simply wishing to enjoy a good book, the novel provides stories of love, struggle, and companionship that far surpass the typical stories presented on the evening news.
Odyssey to Freedom provides readers with an excellent insight into history and human struggle, while also illustrating the profound impact George Bizos had on modern South African government and society.