Greece Is the Word

Author follows the route of an ancient epic to learn that he's better off at home.

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Scott Huler has learned to "keep my mouth shut" when he's on NPR. Otherwise, the 1997 Cleveland Heights grad wouldn't have challenged himself in 2001 to retrace the steps of Odysseus as described in Homer's poem about the Greek hero's eighth-century B.C. mission through the Mediterranean. He has since chronicled the trip in his memoir, No-Man's Lands: One Man's Odyssey Through the Odyssey. "Don't get on All Things Considered and say you're gonna do it, when you're not gonna do it," laughs Huler, who's at Legacy Village tonight to sign his book. "That's because — guess what? Yes, you are."Without so much as a AAA TripTik, Huler launched a four-month expedition in 2004 to places like the Sicilian caves, where Odysseus blinded the Cyclops Polyphemus. In Italy, he stumbled upon the island once ruled by the enchantress Circe. And like Odysseus, Huler paddled a kayak between the Greek isles where the creatures Scylla and Charybdis supposedly lived. "The nice thing is that my journey was more Odyssean in character. I was constantly finding myself somewhere in Greece or Italy or Turkey, and saying, 'What the fuck do I do now?'" says Huler. "That's right in the Odyssean spirit."And just like Odysseus after his 20-year journey, Huler took home his own moral to the story: The greatest adventure brings you back to the ones you love. "I've done it, and that was that. If the world takes me back to the Mediterranean, I'd be thrilled to be there. Otherwise, I'm much better off," says Huler. "If somebody else wants to retrace it, God bless him." The book-signing starts at 7 tonight at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 24519 Cedar Road in Lyndhurst. Admission is free. Call 216-691-7000 or visit
Wed., April 16, 7 p.m., 2008
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