Jennifer de Guzman's Reviews > Lavinia

Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin
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Aug 06, 12

bookshelves: fiction, historical-fiction
Read from June 29 to July 18, 2012

There has been a trend in the last decade or so of writing books that give voice to the women who are ancillary characters in ancient stories -- treated as spoils of war, objects to fight for. Ursula K. Le Guin lets the literally voiceless Lavinia from the Aeneid tell her story, and it's a compelling one, told in lovely prose that is sometimes languid and sometimes taut. Le Guin for the most part avoids the "person in the ancient world" non-style that is so common in modern novelists taking on the voices of people who lived before blogs were widely available.

The broader theme of poetry, fiction, and reality is at times pressed a little to firmly onto the reader, but I enjoyed Lavinia's mystical encounters with the man she calls "my poet." Lavinia's story is a tribute not only to the ability of writers to create worlds but also an examination of writers' limitations.
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