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Creation

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  2,357 ratings  ·  190 reviews
In 445 B.C., Cyrus Spitama, the grandson of the prophet Zoroaster, is the Persian ambassador to the city of Athens. He has a rather caustic appreciation of his situation: "I am blind. But I am not deaf. Because of the incompleteness of my misfortune, I was obliged yesterday to listen for nearly six hours to a self-styled historian whose account of what the Athenians like t ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 608 pages
Published January 12th 1982 by Ballantine Books (first published 1981)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Hadrian
The late Gore Vidal had a penchant for upending history, with his retellings of Burr, Lincoln, the Emperor Julian, and Roosevelt. Here, he has an irresistible setting - the memoirs and recollections of a Persian diplomat who is fed up with listening to Herodotus boast about an imagined victory (barbarians!), and retells his life to his son. He has met, and hobnobbed with, Zoroaster, Anaximander, Pericles, Socrates, the Buddha, Confucius, Xerxes, Darius, and Lao Tsi.

All of these figures (with th
...more
Sean DeLauder
Feb 02, 2013 Sean DeLauder rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Moonbutterfly
Shelves: vidal, all-time-bests
Persian history at the peak of the Achaemenid Empire (5th century BCE) is pretty neatly summed up in a few lines from our high school world history courses, largely in connection with Greek history. We hear a few snippets about the Persian rulers, Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes; a big paragraph about the runner who sprinted from Marathon to warn the Greeks of the Persian attack (which was comeuppance for supporting a revolt in Persia and burning the city of Sardis) and ever after served as the namesa ...more
Bahram Bahrami
Jun 26, 2007 Bahram Bahrami rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those interested in history of Irano-Greek wars.
This is a magnificent novel by Gore Vidal. I had read a translation of it many years ago. However a few weeks ago Vidal was in Toronto and that was how I began looking at the novel again. For those Iranians who were angry at the movie 300, this book works as a relief. The narrator is an imaginary Cyrus Spitama, who Vidal describes as the grandson of Zoroaster (Zarathushtra). I have to add that Zoroaster lived somewhere between 4000 to 7000 years ago. Recent studies are in favour of 7000, includi ...more
Felisa Rosa
Mar 04, 2008 Felisa Rosa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history nerds, esoteric gossip hounds, and anyone in to Vidal
Recommended to Felisa by: Tom
Shelves: literature
This is not one of my favorite books of all time, but I am giving it five stars anyway because it truly is amazing. Vidal's grasp of history never fails to impress me. Creation is a long rambling journey across the fourth century B.C as viewed by Cyrus Spitama, a Persian diplomat and the grandson of Zoroaster. Vidal breaks several of the cardinal rules of fiction, and the book can seem a little exhausting at times; the lengthy conversations about ancient Greek politics would have been more inte ...more
Izumen
Наричат го "Оскар Уайлд" на XX-век, при това съвсем заслужено. Известен със скандалните си бисексуални връзки, светкавичния си ум и писателска умелост, Гор Видал може да прави каквото си поиска. Може да напише съвременна критика на американското общество, да разгледа наболели социални проблеми или да изгради един съвсем точен образ на древния свят.

"Сътворението" е крайъгълен камък за всеки, който се интересува от история. В романа са разбъркани имената на Питагор, Сократ, Перикъл, Буда, Дарий, К
...more
David Sarkies
Jun 21, 2014 David Sarkies rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History Buffs
Recommended to David by: Gore Vidal Himself
Shelves: philosophy
An historical novel of truly epic proportions
20 October 2012

I didn't realise that Gore Vidal was what is called a revisionist when it came to his historical novels, but it only makes me want to pick up more of his books because revisionists tend to give us an alternate view of history that differs from the history that is written by the winners. This book is one of those examples: not so much a retelling of Herodotus but rather a version of Herodotus written from the view of a Persian.
For thos
...more
Perry Whitford
In many ways, 'Creation' can lay claim to being the mother of all historical fiction novels. What a period Vidal chose to write about, he couldn't have picked a more fertile time! With a canny choice of first person narrator, and only a little economy of the accepted truths about one or two of the characters, we get to see Pericles, Xerxes, Buddha, Confucius, Socrates and Zoroaster to name just a few. That's a weighty bunch of statesmen and philosophers if ever there was one!

Persian diplomat Cyr
...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
I recall once that Gore Vidal included this title on a list he provided some interviewer (one supposes, given the vagaries of memory) of Books Which Everyone Ought To Read. And don't quibble with me about who is and who is not included in "everyone" because, well, either it includes everyone or it's slightly hyperbolic. Nor please to quibble about the "ought" because I have really no patience nor tolerance for those who say there is only an is and never an ought, even if patience and tolerance a ...more
Erik Graff
Apr 29, 2012 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
This and Julian may be my favorite novels by Vidal, not that I've read them all yet.

Creation postulates, within the realm of plausibility, a character who, in the course of his lifetime, travels from Persia to India to China to Greece and meets such luminaries as Zoroaster, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius and Herodotus. It is done amusingly, but seriously enough that a reader unfamiliar with the period might be inspired to pursue a more serious study.
kaśyap
This is a well-informed and ambitious historical novel set in 5th century B.C. During the reign of Darius and Xerxes and the Persian-Greek wars. The book is in the form of a chronicle of the life of Cyrus Spitama, a grandson of the prophet Zoroaster. It takes the form of a narration of his life story to a young Democritus.

Starting with the death of Zoroaster and his early life at the persian court, the book then chronicles his travels to India where he meets Gosala, Mahavira and the Buddha and C
...more
James
It is often remarked upon that the sixth century B.C. contained an overflow of major figures in the history of world religion and philosophy. But what if these disparate persons were all linked by one figure, like an ancient six degrees of Kevin Bacon? In his sumptuous historical novel Creation, Gore Vidal proposes a character: Cyrus Spitama, the grandson of the prophet Zoroaster, who becomes familiar not only with legendary Persians (Darius, Xerxes) or Greek(Democritus, Socrates, Herodotus), bu ...more
Joel Judge
OK, confession time, I started reading Creation, but just could not, no matter how hard I tried, get into it. Creation was the first book I've really started and did not finish. This is not to say that it was a bad read, I'd be the first to admit that maybe I was having an off week, but it was just way too complicated for me, it was giving me a massive migraine. I like historical fiction but I also want an engaging story. I found the prose, too far up it's own proverbial to be enjoyable. I don't ...more
Shirin
The book has great sense of humor and some rare fine discussions between characters, which I can assume they come from the author's own personality.

However, I really disliked the book. The story didn't attract me at all and I had hard time finishing it. There was absolutely no historical reference in the story plus some parts the author intended to make the book so close to hollywood movies. Sorry to who ever liked the book, it's just a personal idea.

Cheers.
Jane
Interesting book, life of the fictional Cyrus Spitama, grandson of Zoroaster, the religious teacher, as told to his grandson. Set in Persia right before, during and after the Greco-Persian War. Cyrus gives a completely different version of that war than we're used to and describes his boyhood years growing up with Xerxes, who later becomes Great King. Then Cyrus is appointed ambassador to several countries, most notably India and Cathay. Darius, then king, wants to invade India. Much of the book ...more
Seth Reeves
This novel is basically an exploration of the question "If God created the universe, then who created God?" through the device of a Persian grandee-but-not-noble that travels between Greece and China around 400 BC. The funny thing is that nowadays many people end up on their own spiritual journey, starting with their own faith tradition then learning about those of others, and come up with as few definite answers as the protagonist Cyrus Spitama does in this novel.

I greatly enjoyed the enlighte
...more
Hollis
Books these days tend to be divided into two categories: those that are ''entertaining'' and those that are 'interesting'. ''Entertaining'' books are enjoyable to read but they tend to be a bit brainless and mediocre, a bit light; ''interesting'' books on the other hand are often boring and difficult to understand: the reader writhes in his seat and sighes as he battles his way through an 800-page classic of Victorian literature, wondering if he should really be doing something else.

Vidal is on
...more
Kevin Tole
The problem with Gore Vidal and his 'historical' novels is that you can be sun dazzled by his erudition whilst failing to recognise what he said himself about his historical novels - nobody knew what it was really like so my 'interpretation' is as good as any other. Interpretation yes. Elaboration? Hmmmmm. There is of course the sense that if a story is worth telling, it's worth elaborating, but then that takes us away from the 'Historical' and puts us completely into the world of the 'Novel'.

Th
...more
Simon MacKintosh
The world was not always as small as it is today. Perhaps, in the future, when man travels beyond our planet, our world will grow again, but for now it is probably as small as it will ever be. But there was a time when journeys were measured in months or even years, when other countries were only known through myth and rumor and the people of every country beyond yours were Barbarians, and the ‘known world’ covered less than a quarter of our globe. The reality of these times becomes the fantasy ...more
Punit Soni
I fail to remember the last time I read such an intense, difficult and informative book. The only book which surpasses this one in sheer mass and complexity is War and Peace. In terms of the tremendous amount of information embedded in this historical fiction, there is none other I can think of. Gore Vidal contends that 5th century BC was one of the most creative periods of human existence. 5th century BC, the age which saw huge strides in creation and expansion of ancient civilizations, a time ...more
Shane
A long time ago I saw Gore Vidal on Bill Maher's show Politically Incorrect. I was very impressed with just about everything he said so when I saw this book at some used bookstore or thrift store (can't remember which) I picked it up. I actually started reading it and then the size of it scared me off. But now that he just died the other day I figured it would be a good time to read it.

This book took me 5 months to read (although I was reading other books at the same time). It's huge (593 pages)
...more
Bill
This is my second time through this wonderful book. Vidal has that rare talent of making me feel like I have a personal relationship with the narrator and of putting me right into the world he has created. The somewhat contrived adventures of Cyrus Spitama provide the vehicle for an exploration of the majority of the "civilized" world that existed at the time of Buddha and other religious figures that play a role in "Creation". The narrator's journeys are also a mechanism for Vidal to discuss hi ...more
Lazarus
I give up. I expected to love this book, but Gore Vidal somehow managed to take an amazing concept for a story and turn it into one of the dullest books i've ever tried to slog through. The narrator has little depth, despite his unnecessary verbosity, and neither do most of the people he encounters, despite their being some of the most influential people in world history. It is obvious that Vidal did an extensive amount of research for the book and attempted to include every sliver of informatio ...more
Maurizio Codogno
Cosa potete fare a uno che candidamente confessa "a me sarebbe sempre piaciuto leggere un libro storico con protagonisti Socrate, Buddha e Confucio, che sono più o meno contemporanei. Visto che non esisteva, l'ho scritto io"? Ecco, questo è Gore Vidal. In questo tomo, già che c'era, ha deciso che la voce narrante fosse Ciro Spitama, nientemeno che il nipote di Zoroastro, che racconta i suoi incontri al suo lontano parente... Democrito. Non si fa mancare nulla, insomma; anzi in questa nuova edizi ...more
Jipson Lawrance
In 445 BC Cyrus Spitama, the Persian ambassador to Athens, hears Herodotus reading from his "Histories" and in response recounts to his nephew Democritus the story of his life. He has served three Persian kings and traveled to India and China; himself the grandson of Zoroaster, he has met Buddha, Gosala, Lao Tse and Confucius! This is the thesis of Creation, a historical novel which geographically spans most of the fifth century civilised world and intellectually engages with an immense range of ...more
Linda
Meh...this dragged for me a little bit in the middle to three-fourths-ish part, and occasionally at other parts. Then again, it was packed with lots of interesting observations about various Greeks, Persians, Indians, etc. from a few centuries B.C., so I wouldn't call it dull, it just could have used a more aggressive editor, at times. Said editor could have dealt with some of the awkward repetition. I was absolutely floored by Vidal's book Julian, but this one, though similar in its imagining o ...more
Mike Ratner
The premise of this book - to create a sweeping view of the world in the 5th century BC as seen through the eyes of a grandson of Zoroaster, who travels around Greece, Persia, India and China (and meets the Buddha, Lao Tse and Confucius in the process, among others) - is quite grand. Perhaps tackling such a difficult project would be too much to expect of anyone, but the book does leave a distinct impression of an unfulfilled promise. Vidal's presentation of various streams of religiious thought ...more
Христо Блажев
Под небе с хиляди богове – “Сътворението” на Гор Видал
Забравете. И за нелепия филм “300″, и за всички мъдротии, които сте чували за тази книга, заклеймяващи я като трудна за четене. Защото тя е дълбок и прекрасен роман, изключителен пътепис на далечни времена, на различни народи и още повече богове. Безброй богове – повече, отколкото е възможно да се въобразят дори. И сред всички тях неуморно крачи Кир Спитама, внукът на Зороастър – пророка на Единия бог, Ахура Мазда, и неговото проявление огъня
...more
Andrew
Jun 15, 2008 Andrew rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vidal fans, history fans, someone looking for a new genre to branch into
Ok, so i marked a novel as nonfiction . . . its a story of a fictional member of the Persian Court (kings Darius, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes) and his travels and meetings with major figures in the 5th century BC in what we consider the east/middle east. Even though the conversations and protagonist are made up, Vidal's ridiculously thorough research and knowledge base make this very good for understanding that corner of the world as it was then. It talked of the wide variety of philosophies from Abr ...more
Mauro
'Creation' is full of information. And looking it up on the internet makes the book more interesting, though the reading slower.
The story itself drags a bit, for there is no almost no suspense - most of the history really happend five centuries before Christ, and if you know it, or look it up, you will know the outcome of this and that.
The author desmistifies Athenes & Sparta - it brings a whole new vision (for me, of course) of the Persian influence over Greek architecture, language and rel
...more
Bryan Glosemeyer
A huge, sprawling epic thru 5th century BCE. Filled with historical figures, events, cultures, and more. Really amazing. This is not an easy book of light reading, there are hundreds of names and characters and there's just no realistic way to keep track of them all, so I didn't even try. If you just focus on the main characters you'll be fine.

The narrator starts off in the ancient persian empire and travels the ancient world meeting the key figures of history from Xerxes to Socrates to Buddha h
...more
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5657
Eugene Luther Gore Vidal was an American writer known for his essays, novels, screenplays, and Broadway plays. He was also known for his patrician manner, Transatlantic accent, and witty aphorisms. Vidal came from a distinguished political lineage; his grandfather was the senator Thomas Gore, and he later became a relation (through marriage) to Jacqueline Kennedy.

Vidal ran for political office twi
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More about Gore Vidal...
Lincoln Burr Julian The City and the Pillar Myra Breckinridge

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“In fact, life itself is a contradiction if only because birth is the direct cause, in every single case, of death” 9 likes
“I say his version because there is no such thing as a true account of anything. Each sees the world from his own vantage point. Needless to say, a throne is not the best place from which to view anything except the backs of prostrate men.” 4 likes
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