Author Audrey Niffenegger chose to include an excerpt from The Odyssey at the end of her debut novel The Time Traveler's Wife:
Now from his breast into his eyes the ache
Of longing mounted, and he wept at last,
His dear wife, clear and faithful, in his arms,
As the sunwarmed earth is longed for by a swimmer
Spent in rough water where his ship went down
Under Poseidon's blows, gale winds and tons of sea.
Few men can keep alive through a big surf
To crawl, clotted with brine, on kindly beaches
In joy, in joy, knowing the abyss behind:
and so she too rejoiced, her gaze upon her husband,
her white arms round him pressed as though forever.
On the surface, there is a straightforward comparison between the two works. Both include couples whose relationship can be characterized by the woman waiting faithfully for her male partner while he goes off on (largely unwanted) adventures.
Indeed, the female character makes this comparison herself during the novel. It strikes me that an author would be unlikely to go to the lengths of including an excerpt — and have a character draw attention to it — to illustrate something that obvious. Why was this particular passage chosen? Are there any deeper thematic and literary connections between the two works?