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Lavinia

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  6,525 Ratings  ·  1,022 Reviews
In a richly imagined, beautiful new novel, an acclaimed writer gives an epic heroine her voice.

In The Aeneid, Virgil’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 w
...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 279 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Harcourt, Inc. (first published 2008)
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Lyn
Apr 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Is it possible that Ursula K. LeGuin can write a bad book?

I guess anything is possible: I could win the lottery, get hit by a meteorite, struck by lightning, etc. All very low probabilities.

As expected, this is beautifully written and crafted with an inspired structure. Telling the story of Lavinia, who in Vergil’s great work Aenid, did not speak a word; LeGuin describes the princess’s story in that of an almost pre-historic and pagan setting.

This is really the element of this story that I will
...more
Jake
Jul 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jake by: jsteinmann@gmail.com

“I am not the feminine voice you may have expected”

When my father told me that Ursula LeGuin had put out a new novel, I was, as I usually am, ecstatic. LeGuin is one of my all time favorite authors, and I can’t think of time when she’s written something that has somehow failed to engage, entertain, or intrigue me. The fact that she was, apparently, riffing off Virgil’s Aeneid was just icing on the cake for this poor excuse for a classical studies major.

When the book arrived, I found myself looki
...more
Rachel
Jun 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
I thought this book was boring. There, I said it. Even though it had passion, war, bloodshed, royal intrigue, suicide, I found it boring and it was difficult for me to convince myself to continue reading it. I am a classic history buff, which this novel has loads of, but it still couldn't grip my interest. The tone of the book was quiet and ghostly, very in the past so I never felt anything immediate. It was a story told by someone who remembered facts, places, names, etc. and spoke of emotion, ...more
Sine
goodreads’in sayısal hedefinin yanısıra bizim büyük challenge’ımız benim için yetip artsa da kendime minik hedefler koymadan duramıyorum. her sene mutlaka bir yaşar kemal ve ursula k. le guin okumak bunlardan bazıları. bu sene de alıp alıp yığdığım ursulalarımdan hangisini okusam diye düşünürken kendisinin vefat haberini alınca elimdeki kitap (ki o da bir yaşar kemal kitabıydı) biter bitmez kütüphanemdeki en eski ursula kitabına gitti ellerim. nisan 2010’da, üniversite son sınıftayken son kez gi ...more
Sharon
Jul 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
It's interesting to contrast this with Margaret Atwood's Penelopiad. Both explore one of the Big Classics (The Aeneid in LeGuin's case, the Odyssey in Atwood's) from a female character's perspective. LeGuin and Atwood are both stellar writers, but I enjoyed Lavinia vastly more. LeGuin seems to have a real affection for her characters, and that makes for a warmer, more humane book.

You can't tackle such a project without exploring the constraints placed on women in ancient times, but again, the a
...more
Libby
Jun 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: classicists with a yen for historical fiction
Recommended to Libby by: The Onion AV Club
Back when I studied Latin, we were given bits of Virgil's "Aeneid" to translate. I always found it to be a chore, as poetry is more challenging to translate than textbook translating exercises like "Roma est in Italia." Still, I thought I knew the piece sufficiently until hearing that Ursula Le Guin had written a book about a character from "Aeneid" but having no idea who Lavinia was. Having now read "Aeneid" in its translated entirety, I can't really fault myself for not remembering Lavinia. Sh ...more
Jennie
Jul 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennie by: the MIL
Shelves: classical-lit
Being a lady classicist often requires willful acts of cognitive dissonance. It's not just that nearly all your extant source material was written by men, about men, for men, it's also that Greek and Roman culture, particularly the culture portrayed in the great epics (the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid) is brutally testosterone-fueled and flagrantly anti-woman. In epic, the worst women are pure, unadulterated evil--monsters like Scylla, Charybdis, and the Sirens. Slightly less evil are thos ...more
Clouds

Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my LOCUS FANTASY list.

As the Locus Sci-Fi Award winners list treated me so kindly, I figure I’ll trust those same good folk to pick me some stars in their sister-list, the Locus Fantasy Award winners.


Having never read any Le Guin before, I was a little unsure
...more
Sarah
The late Ursula K. Le Guin hits it out of the park, as always, with Lavinia.

Our heroine is the human MacGuffin from the second half of Virgil’s Aeneid. The beautiful young princess of Latium (one of many petty kingdoms in the mythic age of pre-Roman Italy), she was betrothed to the warlord Turnus, but an oracle told her father that her rightful husband was in fact Aeneas, the last scion of the royal house of Troy, who had just landed on their shores. These being Greco-Roman mythological figures,
...more
Robert
Apr 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nick
Jul 01, 2008 rated it liked it
I'm a huge fan of Ursula K. LeGuin, but this is not her best book. She is a giant in the fantasy-sci-fi field, with books like The Left Hand of Darkness and The Earthsea Trilogy, but Lavinia is only the second half of a great story. It's a brilliant concept; she takes a character mentioned in passing in Virgil's Aeneid, the wife of Aeneas, and creates a story around her. But she should have jumped in with both feet and defined a whole world, as only she can do. Instead, the story keeps nervously ...more
Alberto Delgado
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ursula K. Le Guin era una de mis autoras pendientes de leer por ser de esas escritoras de las que solo leo buenas criticas. Y me he ido a estrenar con una de sus obras que se salen mas de sus libros habituales de ciencia ficción y fantasía con una novela que se mueve entre la novela histórica y la mitología greco-romana . Justo me ha pillado su lectura en el momento en el que las mujeres están reivindicando en todo el mundo ocupar el lugar de igualdad con los hombres que por justicia merecen y m ...more
Shayne
Sep 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Le Guin fans, people with an interest in mythology
I gave this book four stars for its credible evocation of a very different time and place; for the feeling it gave of research thoroughly done but applied with a light hand; and most of all for the beauty of Le Guin's prose. The lady simply has a way with words.

Lavinia never speaks a word in The Aeneid; Le Guin gives her a voice. She also has Lavinia muse on her own status as the creation of a poet, and the form of limited immortality her incomplete rendering gives her. The book can be read as a
...more
Laila
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Le Guin'in, Vergilius'un epik şiiri "Aenas"ının son 6 cildinden yola çıkarak yazdığı Lavinia bir solukta okunan, mitolojiye ilgisi olanlarin keyif alacağı bir eser.

Lavinia'ın olaylar karşışındaki duruşu çok etkileyiciydi.

Ve Le Guin... Masalsı bir dille kaleme almış hikayesini.

Güzeldi, çoook güzeldi...
Teresa Proença
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-eua, 5e
A "Eneida", de Ursula K. Le Guin...

Na Ilíada, Helena foi causa de uma guerra entre Gregos e Troianos.
Na Eneida, Lavínia foi causa de uma guerra entre Latinos e Troianos.
Enquanto Homero deu importância a Helena, Virgílio menosprezou Lavínia. No entanto, segundo a lenda, serão os descendentes de Lavínia, que criarão uma grande civilização: a Romana.

Os acontecimentos narrados neste romance - que originaram a guerra - são fiéis aos da Eneida, omitindo a participação dos deuses, e resumindo as des
...more
Leseparatist
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Myślę, że będąc młodsza, doceniłabym tę powieść bardziej, bo trafiałaby w tematy, które bardzo mnie fascynowały. Teraz trochę się rozminęła z moimi zainteresowaniami, ale doceniam kunszt, z którym snuta jest historia/herstoria i świetnie skonstruowany głos protagonistki. Trochę żałuję, że powieść nie odważa się na bardziej śmiałe zabiegi - na głębsze wejście w codzienność (jak w Hildzie) albo na jawniejszą i mniej realistyczną intertekstualność i metahistoriografię. Wydawała mi się trochę zawies ...more
GraceAnne
May 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
I loved this book for its wisdom and its tenderness and for the spare, elegant richness of its language. Stories have been pouring out of Le Guin these last few years, as if the ripeness of her words must be shared. We are so grateful.
Skyeofskynet
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zdaje się, że powraca stary nawyk - kończenie książek o drugiej w nocy. Znak, że czytam dobre rzeczy.

Nie jest to moja pierwsza styczność z Le Guin nie do końca fantastyczną, ponieważ taki jest też zbiór opowiadań "Otwarte przestworza", który uwielbiam (i którego nie czytałam od kilku lat, definitywnie trzeba to zmienić). Niemniej mitologiczna Le Guin jest równie dobra.

Nie pamiętam wiele z Eneidy, a przede wszystkim nie pamiętam Lawinii. Ale właśnie dlatego powstała ta książka: by dać głos tej,
...more
John
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This retelling of Virgil's Aeneid from Lavina's point of view is blissfully mythic. I often prefer ancient world to medieval fantasy, because people in the ancient world experienced life through a mythic mindset, or so I believe. Like you could say the Australian aboriginal dreamtime was real, because those people used it to navigate their world, the mythic world of Vesta, Juno, and Mars was real because the Latins' mental model of the world revolved around them.
Ursula Le Guin really worked at h
...more
Krista
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
No doubt someone with my name, Lavinia, did exist, but she may have been so different from my own idea of myself, or my poet's idea of me, that it only confuses me to think about her. As far as I know, it was my poet who gave me any reality at all.

I have recently been following a thread of personal interest, reading some books that give a voice to minor female characters from classic literature. In Lavinia, Ursula K. Le Guin retells the story of Vergil's The Aeneid from the point of view of th
...more
Beth
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction, italy
Ursula K. Le Guin has a true gift for evoking the mysterious echoes of a far distant mythic past. I first noticed this in her Earthsea cycle: the darkness of both temple and tomb, a world trembling with unrealized mysteries, attempts to harness powers that can never be fully mastered. While Lavinia departs from the traditional fantasy genre in that it is a retelling of The Aeneid, it has lost none of the atmospheric richness that make Ms. Le Guin’s books so magical.

The tale is told from the pers
...more
Adrienne
Mar 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Don't go reading Le Guin expecting Koontz. Lavinia's character was handled with grace and imagination. But there was very little plot. I guess I should say, I kept waiting for the climax, and it never happened. While discussing this with my husband, he said, "Isn't that just like life? You think it's going somewhere, then it's just over." As depressing as that sounds, it's still a good book. None of the Margaret Atwood or Marion Zimmer Bradley anachronistic feminism here. Lavinia was refreshing ...more
Katie
I really liked the beginning of this! I thought it might just be a book I fell in love with. But it ended up kind of dragging for me. Just . . . lots of description and too many battles. And the pace wasn't great for me. It felt like it took soooo long to get going and then the last half covered SO MUCH TIME. I wanted more balance! And more time with Aeneas!

I DID really like the observations about stories and being a character within a story. But I wasn't able to lose myself in said story.
Davut
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vergilius adlı şairin Aeneas adlı şiiri üzerine, akıcı bir uyarlama. Farklı bir bakış açısı. Lavinia nın gözüyle eski dönem uygarlıklarının, özellikle de Latin ve Yunan halklarına bir bakış. Kitabın sonuna doğru okuma isteğim ve heyecanım daha da arttı. Latin yaşantısı, dini inanışları ve kadının toplum içerisindeki yeri ile eski Türk inanç, yaşantı ve geleneklerş arasında oldukça fazla benzerlikler olduğunu düşündüm. Zevkle okudum.
Lila
3 1/2 stars actually. I liked this book, but did not love it. What I liked was the way the author transported me to ancient Italy without being overly wordy or descriptive. I enjoyed reading about the ancient Latin spirituality. However I am bored by long battle scenes and parts of this novel dragged on. This was my introduction to Ursula K. Le Guin and I'll probably try reading more works. Most important is she made the character Lavinia, who in the historical epic poem Aeneid by Vergil is only ...more
Berfin Kanat
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ursula'nın kitapları arasında en sevdiklerimden birisi Lavinia oldu. Hatta Tehanu'dan sonra en sevdiğim kitap diyebilirim. Lavinia, Aeneas Destanı'nda kilit bir rolü olan ama şairin gölgede bıraktığı bir kadın. Ursula Le Guin Roma'nın temellerinin nasıl atıldığını, Aeneas Destanı'nda neler olduğunu bir de onun gözünden görelim istemiş ve ortaya şiirsel bir roman çıkmış. Lavinia karakteri bana biraz Tenar'ı anımsattı, daha doğrusu Arha'yı. Bu yüzden onu inanılmaz sevdim. Kitabı hem Ursula sevenle ...more
David
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tamara Agha-Jaffar
In her novel Lavinia, Ursula Le Guin takes the character of Lavinia who gets little more than a tertiary mention in Virgil’s The Aeneid, and provides her with voice, character, and background. The novel is in the first person point of view with Lavinia speaking directly to the reader. She describes her childhood, upbringing, meeting with and subsequent marriage to Aeneas, the birth of their son, Aeneas’ death, and her son’s rise to power.

Lavinia is portrayed as a strong woman determined to fulf
...more
Tatiana
Sep 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, classics
Ah, this is a lovely jewel of a book. I love the character of Lavinia, and of her poet, and the texture of her life. UKL is a magician of the highest order, conjuring up this story that is so real and grounded. It feels so true and good and substantive. Despite being the tale of a narrator who knows she's a fictional character.

I love the worship of the lares and penates, the daily rites. I feel the urge to do something of the sort in my own home, though it's hard to know what would feel right.
...more
Rebecca
Dec 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Yay for voicing marginalised women. :p Obviously, the language is a diminuation. Stick figure sketches replace stained glass scenes.

*likes 'em ornate*

Lavinia's ultimate revenge upon the poet who denied her words is to credit him these... "Oh Lavinia, you are worth ten Camillas. And I never saw it. Well, never mind."

*wipes tear at immortal eloquence* ;)

*predicts ruckus in the Underworld*

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Digerati Buchgeme...: Poets and Prescience 1 2 Mar 01, 2018 08:28AM  
Goodreads Authors...: The late great Ursula LeGuin 3 11 Jan 29, 2018 10:39PM  
Into the Forest: Lavinia no spoilers 26 24 Dec 28, 2017 06:18PM  
Into the Forest: Lavinia spoilers allowed 9 12 Dec 03, 2017 01:20PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin 3 32 Sep 20, 2015 04:33AM  
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13,302 followers
Ursula K. Le Guin published twenty-two novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received many awards: Hugo, Nebula, National Book Award, PEN-Malamud, etc. Her recent publications include the novel Lavinia, an essay collection, Cheek by Jowl, and The Wild Girls. She lived in Portland, Orego ...more
More about Ursula K. Le Guin

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“Not even need and love can defeat fate...” 43 likes
“In our loss and fear we craved the acts of religion, the ceremonies that allow us to admit our helplessness, our dependence on the great forces we do not understand.” 34 likes
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