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Lavinia: A Novel

by

Lavinia: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780151014248
ISBN10: 0151014248
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Staff Pick

A living legend who leaps fearlessly across genre boundaries, Ursula Le Guin offers one of her very best novels to date in this retelling of Virgil's The Aeneid, told from a perspective that very often got lost in even the most compelling Greek myths: the female's. Far more than a feminist parable, Lavinia is a herculean feat of storytelling that will entertain readers no matter their sex.
Recommended by Chris Bolton, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In The Aeneid, Virgil's hero fights to claim the king's daughter, Lavinia, with whom he is destined to found an empire. Lavinia herself never speaks a word in the poem. Now, Ursula K. Le Guin gives Lavinia a voice in a novel that takes us to the half-wild world of ancient Italy, when Rome was a muddy village near seven hills.

Lavinia grows up knowing nothing but peace and freedom, until suitors come. Her mother wants her to marry handsome, ambitious Turnus. But omens and prophecies spoken by the sacred springs say she must marry a foreigner — that she will be the cause of a bitter war — and that her husband will not live long. When a fleet of Trojan ships sails up the Tiber, Lavinia decides to make her own destiny, and she tells us what Virgil did not: the story of her life, and of the love of her life.

Lavinia is a book of love and war, generous and austerely beautiful, from a writer working at the height of her powers.

Review:

"In the Aeneid, the only notable lines Virgil devotes to Aeneas' second wife, Lavinia, concern an omen: the day before Aeneus lands in Latinum, Lavinia's hair is veiled by a ghost fire, presaging war. Le Guin's masterful novel gives a voice to Lavinia, the daughter of King Latinus and Queen Amata, who rule Latinum in the era before the founding of Rome. Amata lost her sons to a childhood sickness and has since become slightly mad. She is fixated on marrying Lavinia to Amata's nephew, Turnus, the king of neighboring Rutuli. It's a good match, and Turnus is handsome, but Lavinia is reluctant. Following the words of an oracle, King Latinus announces that Lavinia will marry Aeneas, a newly landed stranger from Troy; the news provokes Amata, the farmers of Latinum, and Turnus, who starts a civil war. Le Guin is famous for creating alternative worlds (as in Left Hand of Darkness), and she approaches Lavinia's world, from which Western civilization took its course, as unique and strange as any fantasy. It's a novel that deserves to be ranked with Robert Graves's I, Claudius." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"With her new novel, 'Lavinia,' fantasy and science fiction virtuoso Ursula K. Le Guin vividly fills in some of the blanks in Vergil's 'Aeneid.' She focuses this engaging novel on Aeneas' Latin wife, who is only sketchily depicted in the epic poem. In simple, stately prose that does no violence to Vergil's work, Le Guin presents the rough, unpretentious dignity of the ancient Latin pagans. She also... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Le Guin has researched this ancient world assiduously, and her measured, understated prose captures with equal skill the permutations of established ritual and ceremony and the sensations of the battlefield....Arguably her best novel, and an altogether worthy companion volume to one of the Western world's greatest stories." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"[A] brilliant reimagining....As Le Guin's afterword acknowledges, this beautiful and moving novel is a love offering to one of the world's great poets, and former high-school Latin scholars may return to Virgil with a renewed appreciation. Highly recommended." Library Journal (Starred Review)

Review:

"[Le Guin] has heard voices and channeled them in the language of Lavinia herself. And this voice has something wonderful and strange to tell us." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Le Guin, a five-time Hugo and Nebula Awards winner who's a practiced hand at creating entire worlds in her science fiction and fantasy novels, combines that ability with a prodigious amount of research." Christian Science Monitor

Synopsis:

In The Aeneid, Vergil's hero fights to claim the king's daughter, Lavinia, with whom he is destined to found an empire. Le Guin gives Lavinia a voice in this novel set in the half-wild world of ancient Italy, when Rome was a muddy village near seven hills.

About the Author

Ursula K. Le Guin is the author of numerous short stories, essays, volumes of poetry, books for children, and novels. Among her honors are a National Book Award, five Hugo and five Nebula Awards, the Kafka Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Howard Vursell Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Lavyniuk, February 4, 2009 (view all comments by Lavyniuk)
Hi...I'm sorry about putting this comment in the wrong section...so...to begin...my name is Lavinia I'm 15 and I'm form Romania. I would be very interested in how to buy this book because I would love to read it.If anyone could please help me I would apreciate it...thank you! bye-bye
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)
funnyc8e, May 9, 2008 (view all comments by funnyc8e)
If you must choose only one book to take to the desert isle from which you may never return, move directly to "L" for Leguin. Take your pick. Mine is The Dispossessed. Regardless, you will have in your hand the key to happiness and spiritual fulfillment amidst the bleakest of life's circumstances.

Put this new book at the top of your reading list right away. Catch up on filling in the blanks of your LeGuin bibliography, if you still have any. It's going to be a long night.....
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(11 of 19 readers found this comment helpful)
tashburke, April 18, 2008 (view all comments by tashburke)
After the thrill of reading Earthsea, diving into a new adventure begins! Thank you Ursula for allowing us readers to see your imagination and talents.
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(7 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780151014248
Author:
Le Guin, Ursula K.
Publisher:
Mariner Books
Author:
Guin, Ursula K. Le
Subject:
Alternative History
Subject:
Women's Studies
Subject:
Marriage
Subject:
History
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Legends -- Rome.
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
April 21, 2008
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1.14 lb
Age Level:
from 14

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Fantasy » Historical

Lavinia: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Harcourt - English 9780151014248 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

A living legend who leaps fearlessly across genre boundaries, Ursula Le Guin offers one of her very best novels to date in this retelling of Virgil's The Aeneid, told from a perspective that very often got lost in even the most compelling Greek myths: the female's. Far more than a feminist parable, Lavinia is a herculean feat of storytelling that will entertain readers no matter their sex.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In the Aeneid, the only notable lines Virgil devotes to Aeneas' second wife, Lavinia, concern an omen: the day before Aeneus lands in Latinum, Lavinia's hair is veiled by a ghost fire, presaging war. Le Guin's masterful novel gives a voice to Lavinia, the daughter of King Latinus and Queen Amata, who rule Latinum in the era before the founding of Rome. Amata lost her sons to a childhood sickness and has since become slightly mad. She is fixated on marrying Lavinia to Amata's nephew, Turnus, the king of neighboring Rutuli. It's a good match, and Turnus is handsome, but Lavinia is reluctant. Following the words of an oracle, King Latinus announces that Lavinia will marry Aeneas, a newly landed stranger from Troy; the news provokes Amata, the farmers of Latinum, and Turnus, who starts a civil war. Le Guin is famous for creating alternative worlds (as in Left Hand of Darkness), and she approaches Lavinia's world, from which Western civilization took its course, as unique and strange as any fantasy. It's a novel that deserves to be ranked with Robert Graves's I, Claudius." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Le Guin has researched this ancient world assiduously, and her measured, understated prose captures with equal skill the permutations of established ritual and ceremony and the sensations of the battlefield....Arguably her best novel, and an altogether worthy companion volume to one of the Western world's greatest stories."
"Review" by , "[A] brilliant reimagining....As Le Guin's afterword acknowledges, this beautiful and moving novel is a love offering to one of the world's great poets, and former high-school Latin scholars may return to Virgil with a renewed appreciation. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "[Le Guin] has heard voices and channeled them in the language of Lavinia herself. And this voice has something wonderful and strange to tell us."
"Review" by , "Le Guin, a five-time Hugo and Nebula Awards winner who's a practiced hand at creating entire worlds in her science fiction and fantasy novels, combines that ability with a prodigious amount of research."
"Synopsis" by , In The Aeneid, Vergil's hero fights to claim the king's daughter, Lavinia, with whom he is destined to found an empire. Le Guin gives Lavinia a voice in this novel set in the half-wild world of ancient Italy, when Rome was a muddy village near seven hills.
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