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Review Lavinia Author Ursula K. Le Guin

Like Spartan Helen I caused a war She caused hers by letting men who wanted her take her I caused mine because I wouldn't be given wouldn't be takenBy the sacred springs in the forest near her home Lavinia. DNF at page 180I m sad I thought I d love this but there doesn t seem to be anything different in here than is in The Aeneid It s just from Lavinia s perspective but all the events are the same and I m bored

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Lavinia Author Ursula K. Le Guin

Young princess of Latium encounters a poet a soothsayer who foretells her future to marry a Trojan hero named Aeneas and found a great kingdom and a mighty dynastyLavinia's mother has other plans to marry. I am not the feminine voice you may have expected When my father told me that Ursula LeGuin had put out a new novel I was as I usually am ecstatic LeGuin is one of my all time favorite authors and I can t think of time when she s written something that has somehow failed to engage entertain or intrigue me The fact that she was apparently riffing off Virgil s Aeneid was just icing on the cake for this poor excuse for a classical studies majorWhen the book arrived I found myself looking at the cover and suddenly wondering what the heck this book was about As much as I tried I could not remember the character of Lavinia from my previous readings of the Aeneid in the slightest the best I could do was to temporarily confuse her with Dido My guilt at my poor powers of memory was a bit assuaged when after some checking I realized that Lavinia only barely appears within the Aeneid and never speaks at all It s no surprise I don t remember her Indeed it s a wonder that many people doThe notion of taking an old story and telling a different side of it is a popular one these days and I confess I m not terribly up on the sub genre which seems to include things like The Red Tent Mists of Avalon and Lady Macbeth among others so I can t compare it fairly to other authors efforts It is a sub genre that seems potentially filled with a lot of anger how easy would it be for Lavinia or any of these voiceless women to rage against the world that so long ignored them How simple would it be to tell a story about how the men screwed everything up and the women were doing everything rightEasy though it might be LeGuin doesn t do anything of the kind Her Lavinia who is curiously aware of her meta fictional existence is very well ancient Roman She is strong but conscious of her duty She has a strong sense of the importance of family She genuinely loves Aeneas and her insights into Aeneas are interesting and very much in line with what I remember of the Aeneid which I confess is precious little The entire story is told by Lavinia herself a decision that allows LeGuin to really get into her protagonists mind and produce a very different interesting and very real vision of a part of the Aeneid that Virgil did not get toI think that is the thing that makes me enjoy Lavinia so much it is LeGuin s addition to the myth Not a refutation or an attack but merely another side of part of the story A side as compelling powerful and insightful as the original itself Unuestionably worth the readNext time I have no idea Not really sure what to read next though I m tempted to read the Aeneid again I ll have to go scan the shelves

Ursula K. Le Guin ¶ 2 Characters

Her daughter off to an ambitious neighbouring king and her father is plagued with indecision But when a fleet of foreign warships sails into the mouth of the river Tiber Lavinia knows her destiny is calli. Oh never and forever aren t for mortals loveLe Guin writes wonderful women and stories that honor them Lavinia is a whole book written from the perspective of a character that never utters a word in Vergil s epic The Aeneid It tells of all the life that happens between the glorious battles the farming the herding hunting and reading of the auspices caring for the hearth gods weaving songs and observances the reasons we war in the first place I think if you have lost a great happiness and try to recall it you re only asking for sorrow but if you do not try to dwell on the happiness sometimes you find it dwelling in your heart and body silent but sustaining Lavinia is presented as an ideal female a faithful daughter dedicated wife and strong mother The transitions between those phases is beautifully narrated I especially found the duties depicted the rituals so natural and comforting I was wondering how I managed not to have any knowledge of Latium honestly I was disappointed in myself and was relieved to read in the Afterword that there is indeed little to no record of the original Latins Etruscans yes and Magna Graecia too of which I have some understanding The auspices were rightfully given to an Etruscan character to read but believably Latinus Lavinia s father received omens from his forefathers in the sacred places Overall it was a delightfully woven tale of life in pre ancient Rome


10 thoughts on “Lavinia Author Ursula K. Le Guin

  1. says:

    Is it possible that Ursula K LeGuin can write a bad book?I guess anything is possible I could win the lottery get hit by a meteorite struck by lightning etc All very low probabilitiesAs expected this is beautifully written and crafted with an inspired structure Telling the story of Lavinia who in Vergil’s great work Aenid did not speak a word; LeGuin describes the princess’s story in that of an almost pre historic a

  2. says:

    DNF at page 180I’m sad I thought I’d love this but there doesn’t seem to be anything different in here than is in The Aeneid It’s just from Lavinia’s perspective but all the events are the same and I’m bored 😑

  3. says:

    I thought this book was boring There I said it Even though it had passion war bloodshed royal intrigue suicide I found it boring and it was difficult for me to convince myself to continue reading it I am a classic history buff which this novel has loads of but it still couldn't grip my interest The tone of the book was u

  4. says:

    “I am not the feminine voice you may have expected”When my father told me that Ursula LeGuin had put out a new novel I was as I

  5. says:

    It's interesting to contrast this with Margaret Atwood's Penelopiad Both explore one of the Big Classics The Aeneid in LeGuin's case the Odyssey in Atwood's from a female character's perspective LeGuin and Atwood are both stellar writers but I enjoyed Lavinia vastly LeGuin seems to have a real affection for her characters and that makes for a warmer humane book You can't tackle such a project without exploring the constraints pla

  6. says:

    Back when I studied Latin we were given bits of Virgil's Aeneid to translate I always found it to be a chore as poetry is challenging to transl

  7. says:

    Oh never and forever aren't for mortals loveLe Guin writes wonderful women and stories that honor them Lavinia is a whole book written from the perspective of a character that never utters a word in Vergil's epic The Aeneid It tells of all the life that happens between the glorious battles the farming the herding hunting and reading of the auspices caring for the hearth gods weaving songs and observances the reasons w

  8. says:

    I think I'm incapable of disliking a Le Guin book So 5 stars it isI'm not a huge fan of the retelling of mythological stories and the like from the stand point of a woman But this was written by Le Guin and here I am I have had this on my shelf since shortly after it was written I bought it in hardcover in Missoula where

  9. says:

    Being a lady classicist often reuires willful acts of cognitive dissonance It's not just that nearly all your extant source materia

  10. says:

    In truth he gave me nothing but a name and I have filled it with myself Yet without him would I even have a name? I have never blamed him Even a poet cannot get everything rightIf you were looking for a uote do describe the central concern of this book the above might do itI was deeply moved by this book and the tale it weaves and the respec

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