Lillie's Reviews > Memoirs of Hadrian

Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar
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's review
Dec 04, 2010

really liked it

I have never read a fictional biography. It's not a genre I've ever sought. However, this was the book club selection, so I gave it a try. It began rather tediously. I kept thinking if someone had asked me to name 100 people I'd like to devote time and effort to reading about, a Roman emperor would not come to mind, especially Hadrian, of whom all I knew was he built a wall in Britain. 2 days before book club, on page 17 or so, I decided to just skip it. Then Monday I thought, no, I am going to try this, and I am so thankful and grateful to have done so. It is beautifully written. THere are univeral themes to which we can all relate, and also there are themes and characteristics that belong to those few men and women of power who have led the world through history. The language and feeling and history is just so beautiful, and it's impeccably researched. I would really give it 4.5 stars if I could. One problem that could be said is that there are quite a few historical passages that I thought tedious, as I am not as interested in that time period as others. I do recommend it. I am still not quite sure I liked the fictionalizing of history, although what can anyone accuately say about history who wasn't there? so if you don't mind a lot of Roman history and biographical info on Hadrian, do read this novel

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