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The Last World

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  377 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Acclaimed as a modern masterpiece and as one of the most important novels of our time. The Last World is the story of a young man's quest for the exiled poet Ovid and the masterwork he has consigned to the flames. Ransmayr has created a visionary landscape, a transformed place where the ancient world meets the twentieth century. A metaphysical thriller both compelling and ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published May 3rd 1996 by Grove Press (first published 1988)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,093)
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Fionnuala
Ovid offers great material- the sexy wunderkind poet who mysteriously enraged the Emperor and got banished to the end of the world, whose works inspired Christopher Marlowe's loveliest lyrics, most of Shakespeare's plays and provided the only emotionally meaningful response to 9/11 in New York.

So why are novels about him such a snore?

The Last World is another David Malouf clone (tho as it predates DM's Ovid book, maybe it's its inspiration). Pages and pages of descriptions of the pits of the e
...more
Mehdi
ترجمهی فارسی Die letzte Welt را با نام «جهان آخر» به پیشنهاد و لطف «فرزاد فربد» گرامی خواندم که کتاب را به من هدیه کرد. ترجمهی کتاب کاری است از «محمود حدادی»، مترجم خوشنام و زبردست آلمانی، که توسط انتشارات پریان چاپ و منتشر شده است.
در طی خواندن کتاب، جابهجا درگیری دغدغهی دقت مترجم را با متن پیچیده میدیدم و پس از مدتها ترجمهای را دیدم که نثر در آن از اهمیتی به اندازهی انتقال برخوردار بود. در حدی که به نظرم فارسینویسان میتوانند از آن بیاموزند.

مثل بیشتر آنهایی که دغدغهی ژانر دارند، خیلی وقتها با ا
...more
Becky
I am a bit sick of reading rubbish over-written novels at the moment. The Last World attempts to retell the final story of Ovid, Metamorphoses, by describing the travels of Cotta, who visits the town of his exile in Greece (?). Tomi, the Iron making town, is a weird anachronism of a place, with projectors and films but no cars or electric lights. Essentially Cotta talks to lots of people, spends three pages describing the dissolving of slugs with vinegar, and getting a little spooked by his over ...more
Bryn Hammond
I enjoyed this fantasy on the Metamorphoses come to life, if largely for its gorgeous description. Ovid I remember for his soliloquies and this is a book without characters, so I'm not sure how 'like' Ovid it is.

The town on the Black Sea has early twentieth-century machinery, and these struck me as props just as you'd wheel them onto a stage, and set Richard III, say, in a fascist 30s Britain. This novel talks about totalitarianism through Augustan Rome. Cotta who goes in search of Ovid is a 'f
...more
Bookguide
I picked this book out to read because it says on the front cover that it is "The most extraordinary novel since The Name of the Rose'. Well, I'm sorry, but this doesn't fulfil this promise at all! It was intriguing, but I am rather puzzled why there is any mention of modern life at all, as to all intents and purposes it is a reworking of ancient Greek legends, which could just have easily been set in ancient times. The only modern things mentioned are the cinema projectionist and a bus, and the ...more
Stephen
It's is very difficult to accept that I read this novel 10 years ago. I remember that winter very well; it was one of my first working at a bookstore on the Jersey shore, alone and cold in an unheated building. The sky was always gray, even when it wasn't. I identified with the exiled Ovid and found in Ransmayr's uncanny juxtaposition of the ancient and modern (a landscape littered with rusting buses and stone temples) something entirely new.

Up until that time, I was still knee-deep in Salinger
...more
Juliane
Ransmayr wrote a fascinating novel about Cotta's search for the banished Roman poet Ovid (called with his second name Naso). The Roman Cotta is going in search to Tomi (Constanta) at the Black Sea (the end of the world) and is more and more blundering into Ovid's world, in which he's meeting protagonists from Ovid's "Metamorphoses" and coming into the world of roman and greek mythologie. In the narrative, customs and objects of the ancient world intermingle with twentieth century technology. Fic ...more
Eben
Oh man. How did I get through it? A classics scholar tried to write a fantasy novel/pseudo-philosophical-metaphorical-alternative history. The result is completely uninteresting "reimaginings" of characters from greek and roman myth in a story about a search for the exiled Ovid. Long, repetitive descriptions of landscapes spiked with overly dramatic events which feel totally meaningless, devoid of attachment to tangible characters or the metaphysical weight the author is going for. Includes a lo ...more
Vann Turner
Not for the squeamish, not for children, The Last World by Christoph Ransmayer (translation by John Woods) is a Grimm fairy tale unrelenting in its horror. I could only read it in spurts, and it left me feeling sullied, in need of a shower and Listerine. It is a novel redolent of putrefaction and iridescent with flies on carrion.

In all its aspects it is an antidote to popular fiction and a testament to what imagination and language can achieve.

I give it five stars. It is a rant against persona
...more
Sana
Christoph Ransmayr gehört zu den beliebtesten Autoren des Postmodernen Erzählens und wurde schon vielfach mit Literaturpreisen ausgezeichnet, darunter der Bertolt-Brecht-Literaturpreis der Stadt Augsburg und dem europäischen Literaturpreis Prix Aristeion. Folglich muss er etwas ganz Besonderes an sich haben, auch wenn er wohl nur erwachsenden und älteren Lesern bekannt sein dürfte; ich zumindest habe ihn vor dem Lesen dieses Buches für ein noch anstehendes Referat nicht gelesen.
Dennoch kann ich
...more
Marc
Not my cup of tea. After 20 pages I knew: this book has the same effect on me as Death of Vergil by Marc Broch, or the Wedding of Cadmos and Harmonia by Roberto Calasso; too effusive, too elaborate, and unreally strange. It's not only the exotic mythology (after all it's about Ovid and his book about transformations), but more the consciously anachronistic method of writing (films are projected in ancient Greek cities; microphones are used in gladiator-arenas; Germans are stranded in some far aw ...more
Jeff
Dense and chewy.
Holly Troup
Ovid has been banished from Rome. Rome during Augustus' reign, with its pompous displays, useless luxuries, and endless public rituals, has no room for a skeptic, a subtle, polished poet. Ovid has become one of the
" untrustworthy" and has been removed to Tomi, a remote port on the Black Sea......

Many years later, rumors of Ovid's death reach Rome. An admirer of Ovid, a young man named Cotta, who is bored with his pointless , empty life, decides, on a whim and not realizing that he would be labe
...more
Auli
Apr 23, 2013 Auli added it
Shelves: proosa
"Kurssikirjaksi" todella mehevä ja antoisa herkku. Niukka mutta lyyrinen, jollain tavoin tyylikkään asiallinen, lakoninen, särmikkäitä adjektiiveja hillitysti viljelevä tyyli iski ensimämiseltä sivulta alkaen ja vei mukanaan voimakkuudellaan ja tehokkuudellaan. Persoonallinen ja moniulotteinen kertomus Ovidiuksen kultista sijoitettuna taidokkaaseen anakronistiseen maailmaan, jossa antiikki elää heijastuneena kaikkien seuraavien aikakausien materiaalisista yksityiskohdista: siellä ovat dekadenssi ...more
Jana Volkmann
"The Last World" is a novel that combines a brilliant plot and a stunning style. I read it in my mother tongue and in the original language, i.e. in German, and I consider myself a lover and collector of words - but here, I have learned a lot of new expressions, and I marvelled at Ransmayr's poetic tone which in my opinion comes out best in the most cruel scenes of the novel. I like the way it reflects on writing, and it contains intertextuality at its very best. It's not an easy task to re-writ ...more
Paul Blaney
I really thought I'd like this better as a former Classicist and lover of Ovid's work. Perhaps something was lost in translation from the original German? There were shades of Kafka and moments of Magic Realism. Some fine language, admirable sentiments, original metaphors, but on the whole the book felt disjointed and rambling to me. Less than the sum of its parts. Sad to say, I had trouble finishing a novel that seemed like it should be right up my street.
Maryann
I'm not sure how to describe this story, other than to say it is a modern take on Ovid's exile from Rome, as discovered by Cotta, a follower of Ovid's and one dedicated to finding him. This takes him to Tomi, the town of iron, that is emerging from two year's of winter.

The book is sumptuous, beautiful in imagery and prose. I felt myself sinking into the story, into this strange and bizarre world where characters from Greek and Roman mythology populate a tiny, dying town of exiles. There are so
...more
Neale
‘The Last World’ is a strange and compelling novel, set in a densely realised hinterworld: a weird mash-up of Ancient Rome and the pre-War modern world. Its descriptions possess the sense of haunting, disengaged reality found in dreams. The organizing principle is Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’, and everything seems to be in a state of flux, and yet oddly static. It isn’t a likeable book, or a page-turner – it seems specifically designed to stop you in your tracks – but it’s quite beautiful in its way. ...more
Jan Colle
Seems to be love it or hate it. I definitely loved, extremely powerful and captivating writing (in German, cannot comment on the translation).
Morgan
Non-spoiler version: Cotta goes to Tomis after he hears a rumor that Ovid is dead. It's an interesting thought and Cotta adventure in Tomis is rather remarkable.




Spoiler version:





Cotta goes to Tomis and encounters the Metamorphoses. Virtually all the characters are named for characters from the Metamorphoses in some way, or recall Meta. characters. It's a really inventive and fun imagining of Tomis and Cotta's visit to the Black Sea. It's a bit odd at points and the end was, for me, a bit unsatisf
...more
Gilles Dazord
Sehr schön geschrieben... vielleicht allzu schön geschrieben. Die Idee des Buches ist an sich nicht besonders originell, aber trotzdem eine sehr gute Idee, und die Mischung verschiedener Zeitalter ist eine sichere Quelle wundervoller literarischer Momente (das Kino-Kapitel !) Und dennoch : am Ende bleibt für mich das Ganze etwas enttäuschend. Nach einer fantastischen, bunten Ouvertüre kommt ein bescheidenes Ende. Dass einiges erklärt wird macht die Sache nicht besser : vielleicht war das Geheimn ...more
Christian Krüger
Mich hat das Buch nicht mitgenommen wohl auch überfordert. Die partielle Nacherzählung der Metamorphosen von Ovid erfolgt holprig mit vielen zeitlichen und chronologischen Sprüngen. Den Erfolg in den 80ern kann ich nicht nachvollziehen.
P.D.R. Lindsay
I found this a strange book. Very 80s in concept, I think. Literary and obviously a writer with mana as he was able to write this novel with funding from reputable institutes.

The concept of rewriting Ovid's life and th ewya it was done with th elinks to the actual work of the poet was fascinating but I'm not sure it worked for me! I found it a little self consciously writerly in places!

Worth a read to fill out your knowledge of the poet. And a well written book to enjoy when you need some mind f
...more
Joscha
Und Naso hatte schließlich seine Welt von den Menschen und ihren Ordnungen befreit, indem er jede Geschichte bis an ihr Ende erzählte. Dann war er wohl auch selbst eingetreten in das menschenleere Bild, kollerte als unverwundbarer Kiesel die Halden hinab, strich als Kormoran über die Schaumkronen der Brandung oder hockte als triumphierendes Purpurmoos auf dem letzten, verschwindenden Mauerrest einer Stadt.

Die Erfindung der Wirklichkeit bedurfte keiner Aufzeichnungen mehr.

Überwältigend.
Andy
Ovid I

A few years ago I picked this up randomly in a bookstore and immediately bought it. The novel is set around the Roman poet Ovid's exile to Tomis on the Black Sea in the opening years of the common era. I had long thought that this would make for a great novel - the urbane, cosmopolitan poet banished by the autocratic emperor to the very edge of the civilized world.

The book was beautifully crafted but something was missing.
Yulia
Feb 21, 2014 Yulia rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: abandoned
No, I couldn't read it. This is just my personal opinion, but I think it's horrible.
It's been almost a month and I couldn't get through the 3d Chapter.
I'm giving up.
Mission impossible.
Koen Maegherman
Een begeesterende roman met figuren uit de Metamorfosen van Ovidius. De stijl is grotesk, de beschrijvingen lijken als schilderijen van Hieronymus Bosch en het verhaal is eenvoudig en tegelijk deprimerend. De zoektocht naar de dichter brengt ons in contact met archetypes en de klassieke uitdagingen.
Dennis
Wow. Dieses Buch ist streckenweise sehr zäh, doch die Lektüre lohnt sich. Die Metamorphosen Ovids werden in einer fantastischen "letzten Welt" neu erzählt, die Sprache ist wunderschön und inspirierend.
Vasha7
A beautiful and exhilarating book. Prose to soak up, a complicated yet natural-seeming construction, and a vision of transformation.
Cyndie
Assez difficile par moment, la concentration est de rigueur pour bien cerner tous les éléments.
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Born in Wels, Upper Austria Ransmayr grew up in Roitham near Gmunden and the Traunsee. From 1972 to 1978 he studied philosophy and ethnology in Vienna. He worked there as cultural editor for the newspaper Extrablatt from 1978 to 1982, also publishing articles and essays in GEO, TransAtlantik and Merian. After his novel Die letzte Welt was published in 1988 he did extensive traveling in Ireland, As ...more
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