eBook - 2008
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In a richly imagined, beautiful new novel, an acclaimed writer gives an epic heroine her voiceIn The Aeneid, Vergil'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. 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 take her destiny into her own hands. And so she tells us what Vergil did not: the story of her life, and of the love of her life.Lavinia is a book of passion and war, generous and austerely beautiful, from a writer working at the height of her powers.
Publisher: 2008
ISBN: 9780156034586
Call Number: OverDrive ebook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


From Library Staff

Lavinia, in the Aeneid, is a shrinking silent maiden but no more.

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Dec 09, 2019

While reading Virgil’s epic, The Aeneid, we usually remember female characters such as Dido-the-queen-who-killed-herself, Creusa-the-wife-who-conveniently-died, or even Amata-the-crazy-queen-who-tried-to-defy-the-oracle. Lavinia, Aeneas’ second wife and the for whose hand Aeneas spent the second half of the epic fighting, received surprisingly little description and action.

However, in this book, Le Guin creates a loving, protective, wise yet humble Lavinia who, despite playing only a symbolic role in 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘈𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘪𝘥, comes to life. ⁣

A major theme Le Guin contemplates is fate. Is it avoidable? Changeable? What should we do with the prophetic knowledge of the upcoming death of a loved one?⁣

As a girl, Lavinia meets with Virgil across time, who tells her about her marriage with Aeneas and his prompt death. Thus she knows about his fate even before they meet and becomes anguished when they fall in love. However, she faithfully lives on, albeit cherishing every bliss with extra intensity. ⁣

Aeneas, too, has his struggles. From the unwilling hero in the epic, he becomes a conscientious and sensitive man, every bit as wise and resilient as his wife is. Having once failed to constrain his anger and killed a man (in battle) and having regretted it ever since, he manages to redeem himself although the act leads to his own demise. Aeneas’ death is tragic, but his self-redemption is sublime. ⁣

𝘓𝘢𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘢 is philosophical and bittersweet and records the transformations of two lovable characters. It is also beautifully read by Alyssa Bresnahan. Definitely one of the best fictions I have read (listened to) this year. ⁣

For more book reviews, visit me on Instagram @ RandomStuffIRead :)

Dec 09, 2019

Le Guin shows her storytelling mastery as she creates a beautiful story about a minor character in Virgil's AENEID. Lavinia tells her own story about her life as a female and how she became Aeneas’ wife. Of course, it’s a good book, its by Ursula Le Guin.

satx_bookshark Aug 28, 2019

An interesting read about a minor character in Virgil's Aeneid. If you liked Circe by Madeline Miller and are looking for something similar, I would highly recommend this book.

Jul 13, 2019

Ursala Le Guin is a wizard of a storyteller. To create a novel from a lesser character with no voice from a classic poem is masterful and creative. You won't be disappointed.

Jul 06, 2019

Wonderful, poetic tale based on Virgil's "Aeneid." In the poem, Virgil leaves out the name of his Trojan hero's second wife. But as the Poet's dying at Latinium's sacred springs, he tells Lavinia that Aeneas will come from Troy for her, and she's to turn down all other suitors so she can marry him. They will rule Latinium together after her father's death, as she is his only surviving child. The Poet's prophecy comes true, though she tells no one. Other than this prophesy and some dreams that push the plot along, this book is as historical as LeGuin can make it. It's less science fiction than many of her works, but just as magical. Highly recommended. Some of the prophetic speech confused me a bit to start with. But make no mistake, LeGuin is a master writer, who entirely pulled me into the world she constructs. Her characters are real, grow, and relate to each other in realistic ways.

Apr 05, 2018

This is a very enjoyable and interesting read, inspired by Virgil's Aeneid. Lavinia, who is silent in the poem, is a wonderful creation. Le Guinn is masterful in her portrayal of Lavinia as a character conscious that she is a character in the poem.

Jan 26, 2018

Lavinia is an excellently executed story in the same context as the Aeneid, but from a drastically different context than the epics usually portray. Rather than the works of Gods and the wars of men, it focused on the daily rituals in times of peace, and how that fragile peace was preserved. Another example in Ursula K Le Guin's work of the value in the smaller, intimate human stories that are so often ignored in the noisy narratives of clashing wars and the shaping of nations.

Oct 04, 2016

Did you know Mars (Planet, War, Change) and March (Springtime, Army, change) are related words? This and other cultural richness in this awesome classic tale retold in a very relevant way.

Le Guin is a true genius. Or perhaps she would prefer I say Juno ;-)

Oct 14, 2014

Recommend highly!

Dec 20, 2013

Lavinia --- by Ursula LeGuin Lavinia. It is the tale opf the daughter of the king of Latinus of Latium hard by the Italian shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Tiber River. This is before the founding of Rome. It is the story of how she grew up, met the Trojan Aenas and fell very much in love with him and the child she bore them. It is a tale of omens and portents, a tale of poets on their way to the underworld telling tales of the past and the future, telling the tale that after three years of marriage, Aenas would go to ground. It is the tale of life after this change in the life and fortunes of Lavinia until it too, inevitable, must come to it’s end. In this instance, LeGuin dons the raiment of on e who writes in fiction of the past. Her prose is almost lyrical, almost poetic. This is how one might read scripture, how one might read one of the ancient authors. This is a tale is is wonderfully crafted. It is happy, it is sad. It tells of people noble as well as pinched and stunted. It is the story of a life: of a daughter, of a queen, and a mother. It is well worth reading.

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Oct 30, 2013

I wondered why a man would go into battle expecting not to be hurt, what he thought a battle was. . . . But he had expected to kill, not to be killed, and lay puzzling about the injustice of it.

Oct 30, 2013

He saw women as he saw dogs or cattle, members of another species, to be taken into account only as they were useful or dangerous.

Oct 30, 2013

Though people often confuse it with weakness or duplicity, tact is a great quality in a ruler, whether of a country or a household; awareness of the other allows respect, and people respond to it, returning the recognition and the respect. Aeneas governed with tact, and was beloved for it.


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Jul 25, 2008



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